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Alternate Lunar Empire

John Biles

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Satrapy of Bindle

Jahangir Paisan is the Satrap of Bindle.  Unlike most Carmanians, he is a Sweet Sea Sturgeon Hsunchen; many Bindle Hsunchen are some kind of fish Hsunchen, thanks to the presence of the Sweet Sea; he retains the appetite for various lesser fish and crabs of his True Sturgeon Kin.

He is greatly worried that Charg will eventually be released from the Syndic's Ban and has been building both a bigger fleet and castles for when that comes.  He regards the Liberation Crusade as a fool's dream when the western frontier is in danger.

He spends a lot of time petitioning Little Sister for more resources, but she seems more worried about other issues, like how degenerate the Moonson's parties are.  Jahangir could care less if the Moonson sleeps with frogs and potatoes, if he would only send more troops, stone, and other resources.

Bindle is a pleasant land despite its ruler's paranoia.  Carmanian Hsunchen rule over Orlanthi and Pelandan peasantry, who herd sheep, grow barley and wheat, and fish for crabs and other fish in the Sweet Sea.  Most of the Satrapy is flat lands gently sloping down to the Sweet Sea shore.  Eastern Bindle rises into hills that eventually turn into the Brass Mountains in Spol.  

A fair number of fish Hsunchen roam the Sweet Sea in great houseboats, accompanied by Schools of True Animals of the same kind as themselves; some never even visit the shore in their lifetime.  The Paisan clan is one such clan, though they also maintain homes in Bindle City.  Like the Satrap, they are Sweet Sea Sturgeon Hsunchen.

Aldog should be bigger than it actually is.  The problem is the necessity of paying tribute to the Char-Un if you pass through the city, even though it is technically inside Bindle.  The Satrap tolerates this because he will need the Char-Un whenever Charg breaks free of the Ban.  The Imperial Navy has a base here and refuses to pay tribute and the Char-Un haven't pressed the matter, but tension is high.  

Bindle City is home mainly to Pelandans and what few Carmanians don't embrace the Changing Way.  There is a naval base for the Sweet Sea Fleet, and extensive fortifications thrown up in the last ten years. The city bustles with trade on the Sweet Sea, thanks to the Syndic's ban mostly ending.  Formerly the capital, the Satrap has moved it for fear what will come out of Charg soon.  Bindle has massive employment in the ship-building industry.

Harandash:  This city was founded long ago by Pelandans and is organized into eight rings - once upon a time, this was used to socially organize the city but now it just means this city has a LOT of walls.  That's why the paranoid satrap has made it his capital.  There is a 'ninth ring' of sprawling new growth since the Syndic's Ban went down, outside the walls but he's building a wall for that.   The innermost ring is basically his palace; the major temples are in the second ring; everything beyond that is a jumble of neighborhoods with common occupations.  

Storal is a tense city whose prosperity comes from controlling passage between the Esel river and the Sweet Sea; it intercepts Worlan's trade with the sea and points beyond.  It is massively fortified because it is expected to be the first city hit when Charg opens; the inhabitants are somewhat paranoid.  There is a large monument here to the Blue Moon forces who took out the last Prince of Worlan here many years ago.   There is a new temple of Humakt, created by the local Orlanthi in anticipation of the war to come.  

The Morvarid Tribe are a tribe of Carmanian Horse Hsunchen who roam the lands around Storal.   They are eager for the Ban to come down so they can conquer Charg and have their own Satrapy.  That's the dream of Israfael, their leader, anyway.  

The Blue People are humans of various amounts of Blueness who dwell along the shore and in the Sweet Sea on great houseboats; many of them have become Fish Hsunchen but the rest initiate to the Goddess of the Sweet Sea and to Heler.  


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I forgot about these guys!

'The Cult of Invisible Orlanth

Imperial Scholars continue to try to figure out where this cult came from.  It probably came out of the half-converted Orlanthi clans found in western Carmania.  Even those which have stubbornly clung to their old ways have shifted some under Imperial pressure, identifying Mahome, Heler (in a female aspect), various River Goddesses, various handmaidens of Ernalda, and so on as Orlanth's wife, since Ernalda worship is banned.  

The efforts of Carmanians to push their religion on them created the oddest cult in the Empire - Invisible Orlanth.  No one officially initiates to him - Orlanth initiate to one of Orlanth's normal aspects, non-Orlanthi are defined in part by not worshipping him.

But he is blamed for *everything*.  Rats in your pantry?  Invisible Orlanth.  Your wife ran off with a stranger?  She was seduced by Invisible Orlanth.  Your husband is drunk for no apparent reason?  Invisible Orlanth got him drunk.  The more he is blamed, the stronger he has become; there is a small army of spirits and petty godlings who serve him now and cause havoc across Carmania.

Worse, Pelandan philosophers have begun using him to patch holes in their theories.  There should be twelve major planets?  Invisible Orlanth *ate* the missing ones.  Why is the wind invisible?  Because Orlanth is invisible!  And he is the wind!

Imperials of the Bureau of Rightful Thought can see trouble coming but can't find the transmission vectors or how it's going to explode.  They just know it will.

The Bureau of Rightful Thought

Stefan of Oronin once said 'You can't make war on ideas'.  The Bureau has been waging this war for centuries.  Their job is to destroy ideas which undercut the Empire.  The Black King and the White Queen head up this bureau - the Black King handles covert operations and the White Queen operates openly.  Both have hidden true names.  

The Black King's forces infiltrate heresies and then use a combination of police action and assassination to destroy them.  Sometimes they accidentally kill agents of other spy groups in the Empire and then everyone dies in a bloodbath and there is soon a new Black King but this is rarer than some think and more common than is hoped.

The White Queen sends her agents to preach rightheous thought and to openly debate and humiliate religions hostile to the Empire.  She also deals with out of control philsophers.

The Red Moon movement is the biggest menace they are fighting, though the White Queen is more concerned with the Cult of Invisible Orlanth.  

Professor Walnut Corpus of the Imperial University Earth College (Earth, Truth, Fate) 

True Animals are as smart as people, but most of them live an animal-like life, just smarter.  Professor Walnut Corpus is a True Dog who is part of a Jajagappa Dog Clan in the southern Empire.  He and his companion, Manshuroy, have travelled to the capital and become part of the faculty of the Imperial University Earth College.  Specifically, he is a history professor and priest of Irripi Ontor.  

Professor Walnut has an assistant who handles all the things a dog can't do - writing, picking things up with hands, and so on.  Manshuroy (Water, Beast, Movement) is an initiate of the Changing Way but a strong warrior who also acts as bodyguard to his companion.

The two of them roam the Empire and beyond, exploring historical sights and triggering historical Heroquests to learn more of the past.  The Professor has frequent need to employ adventurers to deal with threats in ruins too big for Manshuroy alone to deal with.

Professor Aristodeme Firehair of the Imperial University Air College (Air, Truth, Movement)

Professor Aristodeme is a Pelandan Sorceress who follows ancient Pelandan Philosophical teachings which are the core of her sorcerous powers.  She is a lay member of the cult of Irippi Ontor because it keeps trouble off her back.  The entire Air College flies over the Imperial Capital, slowly circling it over the course of the day; you either need to use a Moon boat, have flying ability, or use one of the ladders which dangles down.  Only the bravest take classes there or join the faculty, and Professor Aristodeme is a brave, perhaps even foolhardy woman.  She is noted for her hair, which is the color of fire, despite her *total lack of aptitude for fire magic*.  

During Storm Season, those students brave enough to go along take off in her flying classroom, heading high into the sky and going to every storm, tornado, or other interesting air phenomenon.  It is a combination of dormitory, laboratory, and flying warship, since sometimes air creatures attack.  She generally hires several adventurers during this trip as security.


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Professor Erika of the Imperial University Water College (Water, Truth, Harmony)

Professor Erika is a Pelandan from Karasal.  Enslaved by a Hsunchen clan, she poisoned the entire ruling council and sacrificed them to Jernotius, who made her a priestess on the spot, though he normally isn't into human sacrifice.  Arrested by the Bureau of Righteous Thought, she succesfully argued she was only following the Jernotian Way - in which all gods must understand they will sometimes lose.  Her words caused the judge to release her and impressed a law professor of the Imperial University.  She is an Illuminate of the Jernotian Way - this frees her from the burden of guilt or shame for failure, and enables her to impose the lesson of failure upon devotees of other gods who act against her.  It also has taught her the fundamental truth - laws can't enforce themselves and only work if people enforce them.  This has made her an advocate for law reform and an enemy of corruption in the Empire.  It also means she needs bodyguards a lot.

When not getting in trouble with the powerful, she is an expert on marine law and enjoys boating.  

Professor Erika and Professor Kamash-Nadab have a feud - he hates her and she finds him hilarious, which angers him more.  

Professor Kamash-Nadab Equipo of the Imperial University Fire College (Fire, Truth, Stasis)

Professor Kamash is from one of the conservative Dara Happan families, specifically he is from Yuthuppa.  He hates the Empire, he hates Hsunchen, he hates the fact that he's risen as high as he's ever going to get.  He hates having women on the staff, and he probably hates you, who is reading this.  What he loves are the stars and planets and observing them and seeking out the mysteries hidden in their motion.  Get him started on this and he will ramble on about it forever, even if you are everything he hates.

His family is struggling for cash but won't admit it.  He sells his services for predicting future events and providing guidance on using conjunctions to augment your magic; you just have to be discreet and make it look like you are a grateful client gifting hm and then he gifts you back with what you want to know.  

Professor Erika and Professor Kamash-Nadab have a feud - he hates her and she finds him hilarious, which angers him more.  

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Professor Gelkoza Hurka-Hurk of the Imperial University Darkness College (Darkness, Movement, Communications)

Professor Gelkoza teaches Human-Troll relations; she is a Devotee of Argan Argar and initiate of the Blue Moon Goddess.  She spends one season a year acquiring goods for the university and spreading the gospel of Argan Argar.  She is noted for her taste for travelling at the bottom of rivers, sometimes hitching an unseen ride on a boat's bottom.  She understands human culture better than most Trolls and enjoys the company of Hsunchen.  She also enjoys messing with the still fully human members of the faculty and students.  She is usually loud and crude like most Trolls, but skilled at code-switching when necessary and a skilled negotiator.  She has cult magic which allows her to appear as a member of any species with the Man Rune if need be.

She often needs adventurers who can handle travelling during Dark Season to aid her in hauling goods through the snow and fending off bandits and monsters.


Obash the All-Mighty (Darkness, Movement, Beast)

Obash is, in theory, a citizen of the Empire, initiated into the Changing Way.  But he quickly realized that Imperial Troll society is as matriarchal as normal Troll society, even if Annilla is calling the shots.  He also realized he had a talent for communicating with spirits.  The result is that he fled to Balazar and raised an army of animals and became a threat to the Imperial Colonies there.

Obash is a cunning hunter and guerilla, who has long evaded imperial authority.  He may be an aid to rebels against the Empire or someone they are sent to hunt if allied to it.  Good luck!


Melzorki Moon-Crusher (Darkness, Disorder, Spirit)

As a priestess of Kygor Litor, she is keenly aware that she would be on top of troll society elsewhere, but in the Empire, the usurper Annilla has stolen the rightful place of Kygor Litor.  So one night, she beat her clan's top priestess to death, stole everything stealable, and fled to start a revolution.

Unfortunately, most Trolls *do not care*.  If anything, they see her beautiful, powerful goddess as an annoyance, a fool who got the whole race cursed by Nysalor.  So she has begun searching for the Emperor's Shadow, the being who can bring him down.  It can't be Sheng Seleris - he failed.  But there must be some doom.  She has even flirted with Nysaloreans and is now Illuminated, but that's just made her more determined to destroy the Blue Moon and feast on Annila's flesh.

She is in touch with most sources of would-be revolution, supplying them with spirit allies and somehow always knowing when the Empire is coming for her.  But she keeps looking for something, someone, who can destroy Annilla and 'free the Trolls from her tyranny.'  This includes looking for the pieces of Nysalor - perhaps he can be revived to smite Annila as he did Kygor Litor.

It's worth a shot.




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Mostali of the Empire

There are three groups of Mostali in the Empire.  They have varying relations to the Empire.

The Brass Mountain Mostali are the smallest of these groups.  They mostly keep to themselves, but they formed a contract with the Carmanians centuries ago to trade Brass and lesser metals to the Carmanians in return for a variety of substances.  Little Sister now controls that right and ensures the trade happens every year in late Sea Season.  The trade is set at a fixed level.  It is known at least one Brass Mostali survives here and there's some reason to think the trade enables them to either keep him alive or periodically make a replacement.  

Only once have they gone to war - when Sheng Seleris attacked Kitor, Mostali forces sallied forth and helped trap and destroy his army.  There's an ongoing rumor that they took Sheng Seleris and strapped him into some kind of machine.  What this machine does, if it even exists, no one is sure.

There are other ongoing rumors about these Mostali - they're in contact with a thieves' guild in Fonrit, that they supplied the gates of Sog City, and that Sartar traded something to them to get the brazier in which the Flame of Sartar burns. Or would burn if it was burning.   But if they are willing to make other trades, no one knows what to offer them for it.  

There is also rumored to be a god under the city of Kitor who has Mostali slaves.  Certain texts assert it is a 'dog', but most people assume this is a spelling error.

The Jord Mountain Mostali are the most numerous Mostali of the Empire.  The Jord Mountain Mostali were initially friendly to the Empire, but retained their own way of life, coming down into Vanch to trade metals and goods for various items.  Sheng Seleris attempted to force them into submission and they fought him tooth and nail but suffered huge losses.  The Moonson rewarded them with as much help as possible once Sheng was defeated, and to the surprise of all, they chose to create a force of Mostali who would adopt the Changing Way and serve the Emperor; when one dies, they are replaced by a new Mostali.  

The Mostali Guard are 5,000 strong.  They are usually stationed guarding the capital but are sometimes sent into the field.  They are a mixture of heavy pike infantry, crossbowmen, and engineers.  Their initiation into the Changing Way enables them to tap into the power of the Blue Moon to strengthen their devices and to navigate flawlessly.  They also, like initiated Trolls, can operate freely underwater.  The Guard has a small fleet of advanced ships they use when needed or to transport the guard.

The Imther Mountain Dwarves, like those of the Brass Mountains are fairly isolationist.  They sealed themselves off when Sheng Seleris came, until he departed.  They have since come out and trade with the Royal Fami9ly of Imther.  That trade is in danger as Imther is slowly devoured by its stronger neighbors.  The Moonson is believed to be trying to get the still childless king to spawn so that the trade doesn't die out.

Past interactions have led scholars to the conclusion that the Imther Mountain Dwarves believe Tork needs to be replaced with a mountain range.  Given its issues, not many in the Empire would stop them if they have some way to make this happen.



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Satrapy of Jhor

Satrap Jhon XXIV is known to hate his regnal title but is bound by magical traditions - if you don't take the name, you don't get the power of the office.  This was imposed as a punishment centuries ago by the Moonson; he spends a lot of time trying to accumulate the political capital to get this punishment removed from the office.  He is fortunate in that he controls the lucrative trade with the Brass Mountain Mostali.  He is a Lion Hsunchen initiate of the Changing Way; he has strong magic, but it's inherent in his office and mainly connects to the War and Harmony runes.  

He commands the Brass Monkey, a fifty foot tall automaton war machine created by the Brass Mountain Mostali for the first Satrap.  Horrible discordant music plays when it is used, but it is a powerful weapon.  It's used only in the gravest of emergencies, however, as it requires large amounts of sacrifice to power it.  

The Brass Mountain Mostali are the smallest of these groups.  They mostly keep to themselves, but they formed a contract with the Carmanians centuries ago to trade Brass and lesser metals to the Carmanians in return for a variety of substances.  Little Sister now controls that right and ensures the trade happens every year in late Sea Season.  The trade is set at a fixed level.  It is known at least one Brass Mostali survives here and there's some reason to think the trade enables them to either keep him alive or periodically make a replacement.  

Jhor is home to a mixture of Carmanian-descent Hsunchen, some Pelandan-descent Hsunchen, and a lot of Pelandan descent normal humans.  There is a constant political conflict between Carmanian and Pelandan descended Hsunchen groups.  Carmanians are Horse, Lion, Panther, or Falcon Hsunchen.  Pelandans tend to be Dog, Cat, Chicken, Pig, or Cattle Hsunchen, though a few are Eagle Hsunchen.  The Satrapy has wobbled back and forth between the two groups; a dispute over who should be Satrap was what led to the whole 'Satrap Jhon' thing.  

The cities are largely Pelandan in structure and culture, paying tribute in goods and magic to their Hsunchen overlords.  The cities have a caste system, derived from the collision of Carmanian and Pelandan ideas:

  • The Brass Caste are any leaders of the Hsunchen
  • The Golden Caste are any other Hsunchen
  • The Silver Caste are leaders of guilds and the city leaders
  • The Copper Caste are any members of a guild.  
  • The Tin Caste are unmarried workers and resident foreigners
  • The Wheat Caste are slaves.    

Cities have a Mayor elected by the Guild heads, who swears fealty to the local Hsunchen overlord.

Balovius:  This city along the Oronin River is built around a petrified Tree; This tree was sacred to the Aldryami during the God-Time but the Elves were driven from here long ago.  Elves come and worship here and give the city a gift once a year - fine woods and wooden weapons.  This has always been the heart of the city's prosperity, though it also functions as a major market for the surrounding farmlands.  In the last twenty years, the  Ancient And Honorable Society of Frontier Explorers has spent a great deal of money to buy it all.  What they want with it is unknown.  

Beasts and Boys is a travelling entertainment troupe who operates out of Kitor but goes all over Carmania.  They are the creation of Centurion Plesarius, who served twenty years in the Legions, then retired and used his money to find a bunch of pretty young boy Hsunchen and their True Animal companions and forged them into a band nearly worshipped as gods themselves by every young lady of the West.  They travel around the cities of the West and sometimes elsewhere in the Empire, throwing concerts and providing their magical and musical talents for big religious ceremonies and Games.  When a boy gets too old / gets in too much trouble, he is rotated out and a fresh young face takes his place.  Beasts and Boys has even performed for Catticus, who often helps former members to find a good role in life; competition to get into this group is now intense.  

Kitor, the City of Brass:  This city is built into the cliff slopes of Mount Jalardo in the Brass Mountains.  Staircases and elevators connect each level of the city in complex and confusing ways.  Great walls at the base of the cliff protect the lower levels of the city; beyond the gates are an area still devastated by the battle with Sheng Seleris, though that was over a century ago (1460).  Ruined buildings, weapons and strange craters dot the land.

Kitor is home to both Satrap Jhor and to Little Sister's Deputy (and sometimes Little Sister).  Deputy Paramedes is of Pelandan stock and is a normal human, but exerts her authority over the Hsunchen Satraps, which irritates them all.  He is a powerful Pelandan Sorceror noted for his fire and illusion magic.  The Satrap and the Deputy have rival palaces at the north and south ends of the city respectively.

Kitor is noteworthy for the heavy use of Brass enchanted in the Pelandan style.  Thus comes the name.  There is also rumored to be a god under the city of Kitor who has Mostali slaves.  Certain texts assert it is a 'dog', but most people assume this is a spelling error.

The Satrap has been delving deeper into the rock, creating great chambers for living; it is generally assumed this is in anticipation of refugees whenever Charg invades.

Lasadag, City of Lions:  Lion Hsunchen rule this town, which is centered around the great temple of the Lion God.  The city once supplied the Lion Guard of the Lion Shahs of Carmania and still produces elite Lion Hsunchen for the Imperial Army.  A quarter of the city is home to migrant Bismoli Lion Hsunchen, who remain more animist than the Carmanian Lion Hsunchen, which sometimes leads to conflict.  When the city is attacked, the Temple is known to command five divine Lions, one attuned to each of the five elements, who come forth to destroy the city's foes.  Lions roam the streets of the city; wise city folk bribe them with meat and have no problems.

Mentinus, the City of Love, pays tribute to Dog Hsunchen of Pelandan descent and is ruled pretty gently as the cultural ties remain strong.  Or maybe they just want access to the temples of Uleria and Bentus, God of Pleasure.  The frequent riotous festivals, brothels, sex toy shops, and dirty libraries and book stores drive Little Sister insane and she never visits the city, though it is where those seeking to visit her take a boat to reach her city in the middle of Lake Oronin.  It's also home to fishermen and water-related Hsunchen and to many traders.  And to a lot of Hare Hsunchen.

Orastler is not exactly a ruins.  It's a sacred site of Earth cults, most especially Lodril.  Huge rune-covered pillars have stood here since the God Time and people gather periodically for religious ceremonies.  Once a year, the Brass Mountain Dwarves send an expedition here during Earth Season and take measurements, then get frustrated.  It is an excellent location to begin Earth-related heroquests.  The Bureau of Righteous Thought keeps a watch here for renegade Ernalda worshippers.

Osthens:  This city sits on the border between the mostly Hsunchen-occupied forested uplands and the endless farm fields of the eastern part of the Satrapy.  It is a huge trading point which bustles with life.  It's also sometimes called the City of Prophesy because Turos the Shaker broke the earth open to the west of the city and now an Oracle sits on the crack, breathes fumes, gets high out of her mind, and delivers prophecies.  She has prophesied that Charg will soon break free and invade the West, that the Moonson will one day choke on a hairball, and that the Great Dragon will soon devour many souls.  Anyone willing to donate can get a prophesy.  



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Writing in the Empire of the Blue Moon

Many city-folk are at least a little literate; most rural folk are illiterate.  There are two official writing systems - Dara Happan Script and Claw Script.  The Dara Happans adopted the Pelandan script long ago, making certain changes to accommodate linguistic difference.  It is designed to be brushed onto papyrus, parchment, or paper.  Claw Script is designed to be made with claws and is usually dug into dirt or carved into stone, though you can write it passably with a brush or chalk.  Claw Script is not a full alphabet - it is more like a set of code sigils for simple messages like 'Don't eat this', 'danger', or 'I hate you'.  It is mainly used by Hsunchen and True Animals.

Most writing is in the form of scrolls of papyrus (made from the reeds of the Thunder Delta), parchment (made from animal skins) or paper (made from processed clothing or wood pulp).  The closer you are to the Thunder Delta, the more papyrus is used.  It is easier to write on than parchment.  Parchment is predominant in the rest of the empire because of easy access to hides.  Paper is used by the cults of Lhankor Mhy and Irrippi Ontor, who have magical secrets to turn fibers into paper.  (And other local gods of knowledge).  

All books/codexes and the like are produced by the cults of Knowledge gods, who have the magic to make them work.  Both cults are famous for their Compendiums - codexes built of snippets of information copied from old scrolls.  

Because many people are illiterate, the Empire makes heavy use of Messenger spirits to deliver and store information.

A particular style of metal bound book is forbidden in the Empire - the reason is that this is how the God-Learners made their books and it helps ensure the Bureau of Righteous Thought doesn't mistake your innocent recipe collection for a God-Learner work.

In theory, all new works must be approved by the BRT; in practice, the BRT is understaffed and bribeable.  

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The Satrapy of Spol

The Satrapy of Spol is, once again, in a war with its own Witches.  Not a war of armies, but a war of spell and counter-spell, of knives in the dark, a Tea Party Supreme.  The Satrapy has a natural cycle in which witches infiltrate and take over the government, then someone discovers and purges them, then there is a lot of murder and conjuration and death and the survivors go into hiding for a generation or two.

The Brass Count, Elsid the Bitter, is the angry man who rules Spol.  More and more of his body has been cursed and destroyed or just cut off by witches and replaced with Brass.  At this point, it's not clear if he has anything human left beyond a few internal organs and a brain, though he still eats food.  He is in theory, a Bear Hsunchen, unusually for a Carmanian.  Elsid fights swith two swords - Colado was forged by the Mostali out of cast Brass.  Pino is a wooden blade obtained in trade with the Aldryami at Balovius by one of his ancestors; those it strikes are tangled in vines.  

He recently burned Dezarpovo to the ground due to it harboring witches and built an improved copy of the city a few miles away known as Elsid's Better Dezarpovo.  Details below.  He's also noted for inviting the Moonson's favorite chariot team to a Games he staged, then rigging it so they came in last.  This is because he's angry about the Moonson not taking the Spolite Witch menace seriously.

To the aggravation of the other Carmanian Satraps, Count Elsid regards the Chargite menace as essentially irrelevant.  No one knows when they will come out and compared to witches, they are nothing.  Throw the Char-Un at them, they both die, everyone else will be happy.

His general 'throw the Char-Un at Charg' attitude has angered some Char-Un, while others are eager to try it.

The Bureau of Righteous Thought has provided aid, but not *enough* aid.  Elsid blames the trolls, the witches, possibly what Moonson had for breakfast.  

The Spolite Witches are an ancient Darkness worshipping tradition (Darkness, Illusion) common in this region which once ruled it.  The Troll side of the Blue Moon Cult basically regard them like your little sister dressing up in your clothing and trying to act tough and this has hampered the never-ending war of the Spolite satraps with said cult.

The Spolite Witches prefer subtlety to bloodshed on a large scale, but can unleash a variety of darkness monsters if need be and maintain hidden refuges for when the heat gets too intense.  Most in the current age live among everyone else, appearing as ordinary Carmanians and Pelandans.  Some even infiltrate the Changing Way.  They have potent disguise magic and the ability to curse flesh.

Their leader is known to be named Yolanda, but no one knows where she is or what she's doing.  She is known to have several strong sons who have infiltrated the Changing Way.  But who they are for sure... unknown.

Spolite Witches and the Cult of Yelmalio have an ancient enmity and the cult of Yelmalio Witchhunter has arisen to assist the Satrapy in finding them in recent years.  

Elsid's Better Dezarpovo:  Old Dezarpovo was controlled by the Witches of Spol, allied to the old Spolite Cult of Suffering.  Shouting about suffering, Elsid burned the city to the ground and had a new version of the city built in which everything was bigger and better and moved the population to it.  The Temple of Pain was replaced with a fancy Temple of the Changing Way.  Every tree is now a fruit tree.  Charity to the poor is twice as good.  

Enthyr:  This burn-out shell was once the capital of the Spolite Empire; it long laid in ruins haunted by ghosts and monsters.  Last year, Elsid rallied two legions and put them to work *burning everything*.  Everything above ground is now nothing but ash and shards.  Rumor states that the Mostali supplied a special engine for 'burning things which have already been burned'.  However, the underground ruins remain and are said to be even more dangerous, yet lucrative now.

Rafelios:  This city has a long tradition of women who destroy abusive men by turning into man-eating deer.  Dara Happan legend says that Emperor Murharzarm lured them off a cliff into a pit and then rained down cows on them until they died.  Rafelian legend says that they tricked him into giving them free cows.  Irregardless, the Changing Way has turned much of the area's population into Deer Hsunchen and the city supplies an all-female Deer Hsunchen Battle to the Imperial Army known as the Hinds of Pelanda.  

Zern:  Some ancient battle of Darkness and Earth happened here; a mountain rises alongside the Poralistor River.  A castle commands the heights which has stood since the First Age.  It has had many names, but currently is known as the Castle of the Earth God's Rock.  This mighty fortress, surrounded by a city on the lower slopes, is the capital of the Satrapy.  The gate to enter the city has been turned into a Temple of Yelmalio to the surprise of everyone - the reason is that this should reveal any witches who try to enter the city.  It has caught some.  

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The Satrapy of Worion

 Worion is home to Orlanthi clans who pay tribute to Horse and Deer Hsunchen clans; the Hsunchen live in the forested uplands, the Orlanthi in the lowlands.  The cult of Invisible Orlanth is strongest here.  The whole Satrapy is preparing for the inevitable war when Charg opens; the Satrap greatly worries whether the Orlanthi farmer clans will defect to Charg when war comes.  

Satrap Salana (Water, Mastery, Motion) was transformed into a red-haired woman by one of the Witches of Spol, but is happier this way than before.  This was done by the Witch to prevent her from inheriting her father's position as head of the Kalanar clan of Horse Hsunchen.  She killed the witch, did three heroquests to prove her right to inherit, then won the ensuing civil war between those who wanted male rule and those who accepted her rights.  Now, having won this struggle, she faces the likelihood of being invaded by Charg some time soon.  So she is fortifying her cities and trying to build alliances with the other Satraps and Little Sister.  Fortunately, the Satrap of Bindle is taking this all seriously.  The Satraps of Jhor doesn't seem worried, and the Satrap of Spol is more obsessed with the Witches of Spol than she is.

Hierophant Dorodos (Fire, Law, Stasis) is based in Brinnos, the center of the old Carmanian religion.  The rise of the Changing Way has left him with only fragments of the old power of his office.  Further, he disapproves of the Satrap and refuses to aid her.  The result is that likely he will sit by as Charg ravages the land, seeing it as a 'lesson' to those who have betrayed the old ways.  

Orlanth Skyherder (Air, Beast, Motion)  is the dominant cult of the Orlanthi of this Satrapy and found beyond it as well.  Orlanth is seen as the child of Umath and Mount Dabur and is married to earth goddess Esos the Red, who is totally not Ernalda at all.  She has red hair and the Mostali made her a special crown.  Her sons are Barntar the Farmer, Voriof the Herder, and Bisos the Bull, who is married to Uralda, the Cow Goddess.  Vinga is Orlanth's younger sister, and some followers of this cult believe she has blessed the Satrap.  

Ajaak, The Ancient Fortress:  This city is an ancient fortress with walls fifty yards tall and five yards thick, made of layers of stone with a magic-blocking layer of brass in the middle.  There is an ancient temple to the city god built out of bronze, and so long as the sacrifices are made each season, the city becomes nigh-invincible; it can only be starved out or hit with something on the level of Moonson himself coming at it, backed by the Imperial War College.  But this city is also plagued by the mideeds of Invisible Orlanth and on Airday, beings serving Invisible Orlanth can be seen streaming out of the city.  But with the war coming, the Satrap has no time to deal with this.

Brinnos:  This city is mostly made up of Carmanians who hold to the old ways and Pelandans; the first Shah of Carmania, Carmanos, made this his capital.  The Magi of Carmania are based here and the Great Temple of Idovanus is found here, burning without fuel.  Only Magi may enter the temple.  The city is now somewhat rundown outside the temple - many Carmanians have adopted the Changing Way and no longer make pilgrimages here or worship in the old way.  The Hierophant of Carmania, Dorodos, is based here.  

Jornan:  This market town is flourishing, surrounded by rich farmland and good fishing on the rivers.  Trade with the the Brolian and Anadiki tribesmen to the south and southwest further enriches the town.  This city supported the Satrap during the Civil War and has known her favor ever since.  Huge walls are under construction.

Mount Dabur:  This high mountain is home to the Shrine of Orlanth Skyherder, who is totally visible and the local priests intensely hate the growing invisible cult of Invisible Orlanth.  Brodath Skyrunner is the chief priest, and he cooperates in trying to stop the spread of Invisible Orlanth (which he is sure is a Eurmal cult).  He has promoted worship of Esos the Red as wife of Orlanth and Barntar and Bisos as their children.  

Tynops:  In most of Carmania, the Orlanthi have not adopted the Changing Way but around Tynops, it's become quite common and they're all Bull (and Cow) Hsunchen, taking Bisos/Urox/Storm Bull as their god and worshipping at the shrine of the Bull Lords of Vanstal, who defeated the Chaos Horde in 1137 and who founded the Bull Shah Dynasty.  While most are worried about Charg, they have convinced themselves it is wall to wall Chaos and are champing at the bit for the day when they get to stack bodies to the ceiling.  Do not go to Tynops if you do not want to get in a drunken brawl with someone who may be able to turn into a bull.  This city is currently the Satrapy Capital.  

Vornops (small city):   This city is noted for its temple to Esos, who as locals will assure you, *is not Ernalda at all*.  Not at all, ever.  The red brick temple of Esos the Red and her son Bisos (who is totally unconnected to Ernalda and not the same as other cult's gods at all, ever) dominate the city, which is surrounded by endless pasture.  Vornops is noted for its dairy products and its bakeries as well.  The city is now heavily fortified.  

Edited by John Biles
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 Argath Tapestries

In the Imperial capital, the finest tapestries are made by the crafters of Argath Tapestries.  Master Argath was an ordinary Imperial Soldier from a weaving family; during his final term of service, he had a vision of him creating the finest tapestries in the Empire - this was his destiny.  It was hard to believe, given he hadn't woven anything in 18 years.

But when you get a huge pile of loot on your final campaign and invest it wisely, you too can hire the finest tapestry makers in the Empire and make a huge pile of money.

Argath Tapestries specializes in tapestries which either show the buyer as some great heroine or hero or else depict some heroic deed of the past.  They are so lifelike that many a drunken party guest has thought themselves about to be attacked and struck first.  If you pay extra, you get ones which are water-resistant; some people like to use those to beautify bath areas.

Master Argath is getting into his sixties now but continues to run his business and wonder why exactly he was destined to do this.  What did the Goddess of the Blue Moon WANT?  

In recent months, however, there have been *four* attempts to kill him by lunatics shouting about prophesies and slaughter and now he's looking for some powerful bodyguards.  

Also, if anyone wants tapestries commissioned by the previous Satrap of Doblian before his mysterious death, he can sell them to you cheap.


Matressa Makan

The Rokari (and the God Learners, but don't tell anyone) referred to the Invisible God as Makan.  It is considered fairly unlikely that Matressa Makan knows that, cares, or would change her name if she knew.  She is a Mostali who has pretty much gone renegade.  Infected with Individualism by an encounter with a priest of Issaries, she found her true calling in life - selling furniture.  Matressa Makan controls a growing empire of furniture stores staffed by Mostali and anyone else who can work with Mostali without going bonkers.  She *will* save you money.

Matressa is a priestess of Argan Argar now and has a True Animal (Tiger) companion, though as a Mostali, her initiation heightened her Mostali abilities, like *making furniture*.  As an obsessive Mostali, she has to move product, however she can.

She also is struggling to master the whole 'not shouting thing'.  

Matressa uses adventurers both to guard furniture caravans and to obtain special materials for the custom jobs which help boost her profits the most.  



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The Satrapy of Doblian

Doblian was once a lush and green agricultural land but most of it was laid waste by Sheng Seleris; indeed, virtually every location has some story about the man, usually insulting like 'Sheng Seleris tripped and ate dirt here' or 'Sheng Seleris horse refused to sleep with him here'.  Some have been turned into full blown Heroquests centering around humiliating him.

Ironically, his war turned most of this satrapy into the kind of open pasture and grassland that Sheng tried to turn the entire empire into.  Orogeria the Divine Moon Huntress (daughter of the Blue Moon Goddess) and her husband Kenstrata are worshipped by many of the locals, who are now deer, cow, and bear hsunchen.  Doblian is noted for its honey production, due to an alliance of Troll Beekeepers and Bear Hsunchen.  There are Lodrilli style farmers, but much of the area is now home to herds of cattle or bands of deer or other animals, True and asleep.

Satrap Kineladan Muranu:  A long line of Bear Hsunchen acted as Satrap until a few years ago when Alexander the Blue became so insulted by the caperings of the Imperial Fool that he somehow fell on 42 knives.  House Muranu secured the job for Kineladan; his brother Aguragus is the head of the Imperial War College.  The Muranu are Falcon Hsunchen of Dara Happan descent.  He is trying to promote the revival of the Satrapy's towns to build the wealth of the Satrapy.  He is unusually focused on administration for a Satrap.  Maybe too focused.  He often misses the forest for the trees.

Caral is a popular sport in this satrapy grounded in old religious customs.  It evolved out of ancient rituals of the Orogeria cult.  Every team has eight men and eight women.  It is played in a square area divided into two rectangles with a basket of melons on each side at the far end of that team's rectangle.  The men try to raid the other team's area and steal their melons, while the women defend it by touching them; any man they touch long enough becomes a prisoner.  If you get a melon back to your own side, you can release one of your prisoners or take a foe prisoner if none of your team are prisoners.  Only men can enter the other team's zone.  Play continues until either time runs out or one team gets all the melons.  

Many Hsunchen tribes use it as a physical, but non-fatal way to settle disputes and conflicts.

Doblian City:  The Capital of the Satrapy, which has seen better days, though it is finally recovering from past damage.  Still, at times, you find buildings fallen into ruins and abandoned, where people haven't even been willing to risk stealing the building blocks.  The Six Righteous Fists ruled this city in the name of Sheng Seleris at the height of his empire.  Hon-Eel the Artress entered the city, seduced one of them, helped him kill the others, then sacrificed him to the Blue Moon and presented the city to her father, the Moonson.  However, in the process, some areas were wrecked and strange things still dwell there.  High walls protect the city from without but many worry about threats from within.  

Durnvok:  This fortified frontier city is dominated by the cult of Jesedret, the Egret Goddess, daughter of SurEnslib the Heron Goddess.  During Darkness, Storm, and Sea Season, the land around the city floods and egrets migrate to here, then leave in the hotter seasons.  Quests welcome them and send them forth; the departure quest is all about Jesedret's quest for her missing lover and her return with a child he gave her when she found him in the underworld.  

Ebon City:  This city is built around a sacred cave which leads down into the underworld; it is said to be guarded by Monster Man.  Only Heroes dare to find out the truth but every few years, some band of heroes emerges from the cave who no one saw go in, so there is *something* down there.  The Satrap of Spol claims this is a secret base of the Witches of Spol, but the Darkness priestesses (both human and troll) insist they have nothing to do with those lunatics and just want to use Darkness to defend the area from Chaos.  Whatever the truth of this, Sheng was unable to crack the defenses of Ebon City, though no one listens to the Priestesses when they try to claim Monster Man has Sheng trapped in a box and beats him daily.

Hurvisos:  Bisos the Bull is a popular god for both Pelandan farmers and Cow Hsunchen.  This is his city in Doblian and it tries to claim it's the *center* of his worship.  Tynops in Worion would*loudly* dispute this and each year, there is a ceremonial 'battle' between the two cities.  The 'battle' is a giant game of Caral with hundreds of players instead of just a few.  The winners reaps strong magic for the year.  This event is the centerpiece of the annual Hurvisos Games, largely replacing the normal gladiatorial combat.

Keselia:  This is a strongly Pelandan city, largely spared the damage done by Sheng Seleris; it controls the trade through Lake Oronin from the Oronin River and thus is rich and prosperous.  The city has a strongly intellectual bent and is full of schools and libraries and is constantly rent by deep philosophical debates.  Even the muggers may well challenge you to prove you exist and that robbing you would be wrong if you wish to avoid it, and they expect logic.  

Oarz-upon-Joat:  Long ago, this city's core was built into the ravine through which the Joat river passes.  Here survived a Pelandan clan through the Great Darkness.  Most of the city is now on top of the gorge as normal buildings, but there is a large layer of underground shops, homes, and storehouses still built into the gorge face.  The Temple of the Blue Moon here controls an invisible bridge across the gorge at the level of the old city to hidden chambers on the other side which connect to ancient caverns.  This is a refuge in time of war.

Meglardinth:  This city is home to foundries and blacksmiths; Little Sister has put it on a war footing in anticipation of the war with Charg and it churns out equipment for soldiers.  It also serves as a market for local agriculture and herding.

Mephos:  This city has lain half in ruins since 1607, when Emperor Igneous was killed by Harrek the Berserk, who then trashed the city; further, the death of the Moonson somehow set the city on fire.  The dead roam the streets at night and ghosts eat souls.  Only the need for a marketplace prevents it being abandoned.  

Pillini:  During the Great Darkness, the earth thrust up a great pillar here and the heart of the city is on top of it; spiralling staircases climb from the top to the lower city.  The Handsome Horseman saved this city during the Darkness by turning its enemies into stone; these statues are still found through the city.  He is the god of the city and many Horse Hsunchen come to worship here.  

Seskos:  This ancient temple to Sakkar, God of Fear and Hunter of Men is located in a deep forest.  Neither dogs nor normal humans are welcome here, but deer Hsunchen and snake Hsunchen pay tribute to their hunting god.  Further, an unusual clan of Hsunchen staffs the temple - Sabertooth Tiger Hsunchen.  The Temple raises and supports one of the most famous Battles in the Imperial Army - the Doblian Dogeaters.  During their biggest festival, normal humans are turned loose in the woods and hunted; most die, bringing blessing to the temple.  Anyone who survives is said to gain the Illumination of Sakkar and will never know fear again.

Tawenos:  Who doesn't love pigs?  Hated by Boar Hsunchen around the Empire, who periodically come here and try to trash the place, this city is one of the premiere sources of high quality pork in the Empire.  The city is ruled by Cattle Hsunchen who love to eat Pork and have put up giant 'EAT MORE PORK' signs around the city, even though most of the city can't read.  The annual Pork Festival worships Pork Boy, who let himself be eaten to save everyone in the Great Darkness, then was reborn as a piglet the next year.  Long Pork jokes in this city are a good way to ensure they never find your body.

Valkenth:  Found in the highlands of Doblian, this city benefits from the main trade road from Doblian to old Carmania and is wealthy and prosperous.  Orogeria the Divine Moon Huntress is worshipped here, along with her husband Kenstrata the Bear.  Kenstrata's Copper-Bear Axe which he used to battle Monster Man is kept here, along with a bow used by Orogeria to fend off Yelm's unwanted advances (this is the source of sunspots).  

Xarkarsh:  This is a city of Trolls in the Yolp Mountains.  It has a very important duty - guarding one of Nysalor's body parts.  There is a huge lake inside the mountain and most of the city is in the lake with some fortifications on the surface.  The hunk of Nysalor is hidden in deep flooded tunnels under the lake and ferociously guarded.  Xarkarsh also extracts a lot of copper from the mountain for trade to the humans living in the foothills of the Yolp Mountains.  



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The Satrapy of First Blessed

 It was here that the Blue Moon Goddess was reborn and began the war on the Bull Shahs.  During the wars with Sheng Seleris, this area was mostly ruled by Sheng's Pentan forces and turned into endless grassland with everyone being put to the blade.  Some folk (human and Hsunchen) fled into the forests around the Blue Moon Plateau and held out.  

But once he was crushed, the Pentans were laid waste and since then, the lands have been reclaimed.  This is the ancestral home of the Rinliddi Bird Riders, and they are the main form of Hsunchen found in First Blessed today.  

The river valleys are farmland, while the rest of the satrapy remains grassland for herding; the cities are dominated by Dara Happan folk; the grasslands by the Rinliddi.  Rice is the dominant crop in the west, replaced by corn as you go eastwards.  

Dara Happans have Vrimak, an aspect of Yelm, as their chief god - He is seen as the Messenger of Heaven and the High Flyer and his cult has been modified - once it bragged of his defeat of the Blue Moon, but now it emphasizes his submission to the Blue Moon.  One of the effects of this cult is that virtually all of his priests can talk to birds and command birds; this has reduced the stress levels between the Bird Hsunchen who rule the Satrapy and the local Dara Happans.  In most places.  

Satrap Bilastra is one of the Jajagappa Dog People; she's a classic example of the Empire appointing people from outside a region to govern it.  She is extremely devout and spends most of her time in worship ceremonies; she has huge magical power (Water, Beast, Stasis), but rarely uses it outside ceremonies.  She has been on many Heroquests and uses this to strengthen her Satrapy.

Vizier Asaherus Marano is her second-in-command, a Dara Happan from Yuthuppa.  He is a former soldier and an initiate of Polaris who is basically paranoid about Pentan recovery; he views Oraya as a shield but not a very good one.  He hires a lot of adventurers to stage raids into the Pentan lands to keep them weak.  This aggravates Oraya's government.


Diavizzi:  In the Great Darkness, the Star Captain Kurantis came down and saved this city from destruction, bringing the message of Vrimakus the Eagle God.  He brought the war birds of the Rinliddi and taught them to ride them into battle, enabling them to drive back Chaos.  Temples to him and Vrimakus dominate this city.  Here it was that the Blue Moon Goddess brought Kurantis back to live and he fought alongside her during her first wars before returning to the heavens.

Elz Ast:  This is an ancient Dara Happan City, long hugely prosperous due to its easy access to the major rivers of Peloria and it's ability to dominate trade between the river systems.  Today, the cult of Argan Argar dominates the city.  The city is torn between the culture of the Empire and those who try to hold to the old Dara Happan ways - in this city, the new has clearly won; it is their control of ship building which keeps the old Dara Happan clans afloat in the city.  People from all over the Empire walk its streets.

First Victory:  This city was founded to celebrate the Blue Goddess' first victory over the Carmanians.  A clan of Zaranistangi guards the city, which was destroyed by Sheng Seleris but *rebuilt itself* when he died.  At the center is the Temple of Victory, guarded by loperbeasts and their riders.  There is a great fountain here, which creates a stream that flows into the Athil River and from there, into the Arcos.  Water from it is taken for ceremonies used at the start of any military campaign and at the Coronation of each new Moonson.  The Moonson comes and bathes in the fountain once a year, unless on campaign, early in Sea Season.  

Ganbarri:  "This city was once the capital of Rinliddi and today, it is awash with birds, both True and nromal.  The city is centered round the high temple-tower to Tholim, High Flyer and God of Falconry.  Many Falcon Hsunchen live around or in the city which is full of many tall aeries.  The city has a problem - Nyslorean infection.  Riddlers strike the city every few years, bringing their unholy 'illumination'.  No one is sure what is causing this, though some fear one of Nysalor's body parts is hidden somewhere in the city.

Herele:  One of the first cities to declare for the Blue Goddess.  During Sheng Seleris' invasion, the city flooded and vanished.  It hid underwater and it remains there - only those initiated into the ways of the Blue Moon or who can otherwise breathe water can dive into the river and visit the city.  Heron Hsunchen dwell in the wetlands around the city.

Jarabuli:  This area confuses many visitors.  It is surrounded by carefully maintained light forest, scrub brush, and wild pastures.  That is because this city is sacred to Avarnia the Quail Goddess and many True Quail and their Hsunchen friends live around the city, guarding it.  The city itself is a tree city of connected elevated platforms, with quail going about their business among the low plants below.  The one exception is the great stone docks which contain devices to elevate goods up to the platforms.  

Karvisti:  This market town is at the junction between the agritultural belt along the Arcos and the forested areas in the south dominated by Hsunchen.  The town sells grain and vegetables to the Hsunchen, along with tools and metals, while getting timber, hides, and other crafts from the Hsunchen.  A small colony of trolls lives here, in the river, and they dominate local trade, acting as middletrolls.

Kesium:  This city was once the capital of a past Rinliddi Kingdom which took over the Dara Happan Empire under the Bright Eagle Lords.  Vrimakus the Eagle God has a magnificent temple here, and Eagle Hsunchen rule over Dara Happans in this city.  There is an annual festival where one of them is chosen to play the role of Emperor Lukarius of Dara Happa, who is crowned at the Temple of Antirius, then ceremonially stripped of office for his destruction of Merinta, then eaten alive by a Troll Priestess of Anilla.  This is usually a criminal, though one past Satrap of First Blessed erred so badly that he was used instead of a Dara Happan.

Memkoth:  This small city of Dara Happans is sacred to Denegaria, daughter of Yelm, who he rescued from the forces of Darkness here.  The re-enacting of his rescue imbues the city with potent anti-Darkness magic which keeps out Trolls, who constantly complain but the Moonson seems unsympathetic.  The city must pay tribute to local Rinliddi bird-rider clans, but only those who bear the Fire Rune are allowed inside the city.  As a result, everyone here tries to pretend it's still the good old days.  The annual festival also protects a roughly thirty mile radius from plant blights, making the farming of rice here super-abundant.  Two God-learners are impaled on a spear driven into the wall of the Temple of Yelm Liberator here; their bodies have not rotted but they are dead; it is said catastrophe will ensue if they are ever released.

Shushz:  This city was once the capital of the Althil Kingdom, a thousand years ago.  Now it is a place for worship of the many Bird gods and spirits.   The city is awash with birds and has huge problems with bird dung as a result.  The city is noted for its Bird Messengers, trained True Animals who memorize and carry messages across all of First Blessed.  

Torang:  Torang is the capital of the Satrapy and a major market town.  Hsunchen come from the south, farmers from the north.  But it is much bigger than it would normally be, and the reason is pilgrims and shrines.  There are temples to the Blue Moon, each of the Seven Sailors, Argan Argar, and other gods as well; pilgrims can visit the inn room where the rite of Embodiment took place and every year the rite is re-enacted.  This is a very holy city.  

Yuthuppa:  This Dara Happan City is one of the three greatest Dara Happan cities and is in much better shape than Raibanth.  This is because the cult of Buserian, which dominates the city, has been a great deal of help to the Empire through its magical and celestial knowledge.  Anaxial the Sailor (claimed by many Blue Moon worshippers to have been reincarnated as one of the Seven Sailors) founded this city and the Yuthmesha family, hereditary leaders of the Cult of Buserian, claim descent from him.  

Yuthuppa is designed to resemble the night sky with its Star Towers placed where stars can be found.   Some of the towers *move* around the city in imitation of the stars.  Those who know the right rituals can pass into the Sky World from the peaks of these towers.  

The most sacred to the Empire of these is the Tower of the Blue Moon, home to shrines to every member of the Blue Moon Pantheon; from the top you can pass to the Imperial City on the Blue Moon and the Moonson visits Yuthuppa by the route at least once a year.

One Tower is the Tower of Star Captain Kurantis, who is worshipped here and in the city of Diavizzi; once a year, a group of priests and pilgrims come to do special rites.  

There are persisting rumors one of Nysalor's remains is hidden in the city but if so, no one knows where or which one.  There is a shattered tower, the Tower of Nysalor, crafted during the Bright Empire; it toppled when he died.  A group of watchers monitor it, because if he ever rises again, it will repair itself.


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Hospitality in the Blue Moon Empire

The Cult of Argan Argar maintains a set of caravanaseries and inns across the Empire for travellers and traders, especially traders, found in every city and also at periodic points along major trade routes.  Those who head to the backwoods or south of Tarsh willh have to pursue other options.

Argarhouses always have a combination of stables, a yard, a shrine, a dining area, a common room for the less wealthy to sleep in, and some number of smaller rooms for wealthier travelers.  Some have a blacksmith, accommodations for insect mounts and aeries for birds, and more, fancier rooms for wealthy travelers.  Any initiate of the cult can stay for free.

Bigger cities also have inns where you can sleep cheaply in a common room or in a personal room; smaller cities, you will need a guild or personal connection or find someone who still holds to the rural rites of hospitality.

Dara Happans will put up guests who are clients or allies for up to a week and help people find a longer home if necessary; doing so brings honor to your clan.

In the countryside, there is a strong tradition of hospitality; unless you are doing business with the village, you shouldn't stay more than three days but travelling merchants and the like are welcome longer.  The local mayor / chief / headman usually puts up guests.

South of Tarsh, Orlanthi hospitality rules predominate and it's pretty dangerous for travellers, unfortunately, though the major cities do have Argarhouses.  

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Inspector Boraka (Water, Law, Illusion)

Inspector Boraka is one of the most dreaded agents of the Bureau of Righteous Thought, using her illusion powers to join groups of heretics, document their treason, then have them arrested.  No one ever suspects her until it is too late.

This is because she is a chicken.  

She is a True Chicken, but everyone perceives her as something like themselves.  She can't actually shapechange but people see her as something they will trust.  This generally works pretty well, but sometimes she gets caught because she doesn't have any hands and it makes her illusion falter.

When not enforcing the law, Inspector Boraka spends a lot of time studying Kralorelan Philosophy and Culture; she feels everyone needs a hobby.

The Inspector mostly relies on the BRT's resources, but she does sometimes employ adventurers, especially when an infiltration is particularly dangerous.


Danger Duck (Water, Life, Movement)

Danger Duck is one of the greatest entertainers of the Empire.  His real name is unknown but he dresses in a fancy blue and white ouffit which is probably some sort of magical silk armor.  It covers everything save his hands (which are gloved) and his beak and eyes.  

Danger Duck does things like fill an arena with raging bears, then cross the arena, jumjping bear head to bear head.  Or jumping a chariot over twelve thunder lizards.  Ot letting himself be locked in a barrel, dropped into a tank full of hungry flesh-eating fish, while chained up, and then escape.

His act is very popular at Games and gives him enough money to hire adventurers to help round up things for his latest crazy stunt.  

Just to be clear, he is a duck.

Discord Duck (Illusion, Disorder, Movement)

This had to be said because Discord Duck is not actually a Duck.  Or maybe he is.  No one is sure.  Sometimes he is obviously a man in a duck costume, sometimes he is a Duck, and at least once, he looked exactly like the Moonson.  It's generally assumed he is a priest of some god of Tricksters, but he roams the Empire, spreading havooc, and the BRT can't ever manage to hunt him down.  They once locked him in a cask of acid and he was back on the streets in two days.  He spreads small-c chaos wherever he goes and has a trick where he just asks you one question and you throw away everything you ever worked for and go on a rampage of increasing small-c chaos.  

The BRT suspects he has something to do with the growth of belief in Invisible Orlanth, only adding to their reasons to bust him.  


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The Mounts of Moonson:

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 Mounts of Moonson:

  1. Whittington (1460-1506) - A poor boy from the streets of the Imperial Capital, who met a talking cat who helped him to pass the Eleven Tests, claim the throne of the Empire, and eventually defeat and imprison Sheng Seleris.  He perished defeating the Pentans at the Battle of Fallen Stars in 1506.  
  2. Artemus the Artificer  (1506-1522)- Fascinated by Mostali machines, this Cow Hsunchen Mount suppressed a Dara Happan revolt and then focused on inventing the Wonder Engines.  This roused fears he'd somehow been tainted by God-Learners and this would be Zistor come again.  This led General Maximinius to feed him into his own Wonder Engine, which then blew up, killing them both.  
  3. Vendermain the Voracious (1523-1529) - A Boar Hsunchen who passed the Eleven Tests after two previous would-be Mounts failed the tests.  How he passed the tests remains unclear because his reign was focused on two things - eating and party time.  He claimed to have slept with Uleria herself and that he had found a way to gain immortality and illumination through sheer physical excess.  Whether he ate too much, took too many drugs, or was slaughtered by disease spirits remains debated.  But he quickly self-destructed.
  4. Macall the Venerator (1529-1546) - Macall the Venerator was the most devout steed of the Moonson.  He had been the Parrot Hsunchen second in command of the Cult of Deezola, and he especially showered it with favors.  He strove to expand the Lunar Way to new lands and poured a lot of imperial money into the War on Ernalda.  He had a great deal of success, but one day, the ground cracked open, a giant snake came out, bit him and dragged him into the ground never to be seen again.  
  5. Robanal the Robust (1546-1556) - Robanal was the much-loved son of a Horse Hsunchen clan from Carmania.  He roved the Empire having adventures and is noted for passing one of the Eleven Tests by invading Dorasor, ripping off the arms of the Broo Overlord of Carnaxia, and then beating him to death with them.  Robanal spent his time crusading, until his effort to kill off Ralkazark ended with Ralkazark ripping his arms off and beating him to death with them.  
  6. Miletus the Celestial Watcher (1546-1574) - Born a minor member of a traditionalist Dara Happan Clan, his initiation into the priesthood of Buserian warned him of a future plot to reunite Nysalor to destroy the Empire.  He devoted his whole life to preparing for the Eleven Tests and once he became the Steed of Moonson, he summoned twelve Celestial Eagles who tore apart the twelve Traitors.  He then realized that he did not actually have any further purpose in life.  He guided the rest of his reign by watching the stars.  This led him to organize the Celestial Games in 1574.  After a grand celebration of the best of the Empire, he was mistakenly killed by an Assassin during a Tea Party who mistook him for someone else.  
  7. Annabal the Militant (1574-1586) - Annabal the Militant (bear Hsunchen) was born a slave and became a gladiator.  At the Celestial Games, the Emperor watched her win and declared him free on the spot; when his master complained, Miletus had him enslaved.  Shortly thereafter Miletus was murdered and Annabal tracked down and killed his killer.  He then took the Elven Tests, became Emperor, and had a huge commemorative statue of Miletus made.  He devoted the rest of his reign to war; he was good at winning battles, but often wasn't good at exploiting victory.  He killed Tarkalor Trollkiller in single combat at the Battle of Troll Vengeance, handing his body over to his troll allies to eat.  He allowed himself to be taunted into taking on the Crimson Slaughter, a gladiator of note, at the 1586 Games in the Capital and died at his hands.
  8. Shalin the Reclusive (1586-1589) - No one expected a Rat Hsunchen to become *Emperor*.  It's thought he had been an Imperial spy before his ascension.  His first act was to have the Crimson Slaughter chopped into pieces, enough to send to every Province.  He then basically retreated into his palace and used a set of Brass Walking Statues made for him by the Brass Mountain Mostali as his agents to carry out his will.  The Brass Agents of Shalin were feared throughout the Empire.  While it is known that his plots were very deep and complex, the folk tale that he plotted against and murdered himself seems unlikely to most scholars.  
  9. Igneous the Bull (1592-1607) - It wasn't clear when or how Shalin died, but in 1589, people began jockeying to replace him.  Igeneous, an officer in the military, succeeded in 1592.  He reorganized the military and pushed the war in the South.  He crushed the Kingdom of Sartar, but suffered injuries which never healed while taking Boldhome in 1602.  Igneous was murdered at a Games in 1607 by Harrek the Berserk.  
  10. Catticus - Described elsewhere.  
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On 12/7/2020 at 7:44 PM, John Biles said:


Noted Catticus Solo  Songs from the Rite:

  • Elven Beds Are Burning
  • I Fought the Law Rune and the Rune Won
  • My Way (Or You Will Die)
  • Blue Saird Shoes
  • You Are Nothing But A Loper, So Please Do Not Eat Me
  • Blue Moon Over Prax
  • Welcome to My Empire



Rock a Lunar Rock!
Return To Sartar (address unknown)
Love Me Jar Eel (Love Me True)
(You're the) Devil in Disguise.
On a cold and grey Charg (oh!) morn another sad little trollkin is born, In The Ghetto!*


The best example of this is The Fat Cartman's version. The travelling vagabond.

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2 hours ago, Orlanthatemyhamster said:

Rock a Lunar Rock!
Return To Sartar (address unknown)
Love Me Jar Eel (Love Me True)
(You're the) Devil in Disguise.
On a cold and grey Charg (oh!) morn another sad little trollkin is born, In The Ghetto!*


The best example of this is The Fat Cartman's version. The travelling vagabond.

Definitely songs from the Catticus play list.

In the Grotto

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Charg mornin'
Another sad little trollkin is born
In the grotto

And his mama cries
'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed
In the grotto

People, don't you understand
Trollkin need a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
Are we too blind to see,
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way
Well the world turns
And a hungry little troll with a runny nose
Plays in the stream as the cold wind blows
In the grotto

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the fields at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the grotto

Then one night in desperation
The young man breaks the rules
He makes a club, eats a horse,
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries
As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young troll
Face down in a field with a club in his hand
In the grotto

As her young man dies,
On a cold and gray Charg mornin',
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries

Edited by John Biles
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Satrapy of Darjiin

This prosperous, thickly populated satrapy is home to rice, rice farmers, wetlands, and Heron Hsunchen.  Other Hsunchen do exist here, but the dominant group by far are the Herons, who worship SurEnslib the Heron Goddess, Yestendos, the God of Reed Boats, and Manimat the Sun God.  (In Darjiin, Yelm is officially dead and anyone who defies this is in trouble.  Elsewhere in the Empire, Yelm worship is snubbed but not illegal and persecuted.)

The Heron People of Darjiin build reed boats where they dwell, migrating through the endless waterways of the wetlands of Darjiin to hunt fish and small birds.   They are basically house-barges, very mobile in the swamp and providing a dry place to live.  Most such boats have one or more spirits bound to them, giving them unpredictable powers.  Some are mobile shrines.  A handful can fly but the vast majority cannot.  True Herons nest on the roofs of these boats.

Dara Happans who live in this satrapy simply worship Antirius the way they would worship Yelm elsewhere but are understandably pissy about having to do this.  

Satrap YumYum of Darjiin - The Satrap is a Horse Hsunchen from Oraya of mixed Imperial and Pentan descent.  She is also a noted fire sorceress and she changed her name to avoid having it used against her when she became one.  The spirits saddled her with a name she hates but which protects her against hostile magic aimed at her.  She doesn't like Darjiin at all; it's too wet and full of freaks, but she tries to do her duty.  She has strong war magic from her office, but her fire magic doesn't work at its peak here, to her aggravation.  She has tried to overcome this by promoting Elmal Horsefriend, who she came to serve in a Heroquest, but has not had much luck.

Amuli:  In many ways, this is a fairly standard market town in Darjiin - a huge plaza for market days, canals through the streets connected to the river, heron boats on the water, a lot of brothels which are theoretically shrines of SurEnslib and other related gods, a Temple of the Blue Moon which only really matters for major festivals, an arena for games, and a bunch of craft shops.  Back in the 1520s, though, Vendermain the Voracious (the third Steed of the Moonson) came here every Earth Season for PARTY TIME and stories still circulate of the lunacy unleashed at that time.  Half the town claims descent from one of his illegitimate kids.

Arirtikoth:   This town grew around the fertile soil of a long extinct volcano.  Local legend claims Lodril created it to slay some beast of Chaos.  It is now home to spirits who want to flood the entire satrapy and have to be appeased with seasonal rites or the whole satrapy floods.  (Local tradition holds they were summoned to keep the Volcano from doing the same stunt... with magma.)  Rents are high to meet the ritual needs but yields are huge, though the land in this area is cultivated with drier crops.  

Darokon:  These ruins were once home to the Manimat-worshipping Kings of Darjiin in the Great Darkness, until the mountain fell on them.  Some holy rites still happen here.   There are constant rumors of Yelm worshippers being sacrificed here, but the BRT has never been able to prove it.

Dorkath:  This city has long been home to one of the main temples of SurEnslib, where the traditional competition to marry her for a year happens every year.  Vendermain the Voracious is known to have been the winner during his drive to become the Mount of Moonson and came back for a second round.  Macall the Venerator lost *five times* before giving up.  Given one in five contestants die, he got lucky.  This city has many 'shrines' to the goddess and her family and is sometimes called the City of Inquity by jealous Dara Happans.

Haranshold:  This is the capital of Darjiin.  This city looks weird compared to other Darjiini cities because it is so dry.  The Alkothi destroyed the city long ago... several times.... whenever the land tried to rise again.  The Bull Shahs rebuilt the city, filled in the canals with dirt and dung and turned them into flower beds and trees.  This makes the city a beautiful place.  Surrounded by wetlands it rises above.  (The Bull Shahs also elevated the city).  There is a river here and a dock area, but the city rises above it.  A great temple to Manimat dominates the city; There is also the temple of 'Shargash Dung-Eater', a sort of anti-temple which basically weakens anyone from Alkoth who comes near the city.  The current Satrap has promoted worship of Elmal Horsefriend here, having been led to his service during a Heroquest.  She is quite frustrated that people only come because she makes them.  Haranhold is a major center of Wind Boat production.

Massos:  Massos never was and probably never will be one of the greatest of Dara Happan cities.  It's best known for its cheeses and its cheesy rice dishes.  Rice and cows are at the heart of the economy.  The city is centered around the temple of the obscure solar diety Massala, who is normally left to Lodrilli peasants to worship - the goddess of Milk Cows.  But here, she has a grand temple and the city produces high quality cheeses which keep the local noble Dara Happan clans afloat.  Their big goal - get a *monopoly* on cheese!

South Raibanth:  Once part of a glorious Dara Happan city, it is now kept afloat by two things - being at a good trade location, and being where Dara Happans go to get freaky and pretend they didn't do it.  The city looks run-down and dingy except in the dock area.  Bat and Bird Hsunchen nest in the high towers and their True Animal companions leave guano everywhere and like to dive bomb people.  Desperate Dara Happan clans cling to trade revenue and some have just gone full crime family.  Rat Hsunchen are everywhere.  

Ulifilias:  Imagine if you were so repulsed by the world that you went off to the edge of a swamp, built a monastery with strict rules where people only had sex once per season, and spent your time praying and meditating and calling upon Dayzatar for wisdom.  So then people gave you huge piles of wealth trying to buy your spiritual favor and then tons of peasants flocked to the area because your holiness kept evil away and you put some of them to work doing all the menial tasks so you could focus on holy things.  But all of these peasants are tainted by the religions of Darjiin, so they constantly violate all your rules and there's constant conflict and temptation.  That's Ulifilias.  

Vaskoli:  The Blue Moon and Argan Argar temples rule this town, where humans trade with the Blue Moon worshipping Trolls of the Yolp Mountains.  Half the city is underground, including the market, which is connected by elevators to the 'day market' above.  Many humans here have some Troll ancestry and vice-versa.  

Yunirtos:  There are recurring rumors that Dara Happan rebels against the Moonson hid all their treasure in the nearby swamp; this city is constantly flooded with adventurers who think they have the secret, go to the swamp, and die.  Or find something and sell it, then blow all the money on entertainment.  

Just as planned.

Yushargos:  This city is noted for two things - the Temple of Everina, the Rice Goddess, who is allegedly married to Shargash and makes him flood the land so her crops will flourish, and the Forbidden Word; anyone who speaks it is taken by the priestesses of Everina and sacrificed to Shargash, who devours them in the form of a crocodile.  No one knows what the word is, save the Priestesses, but it's been this way since the Second Age.  


Edited by John Biles
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The Cursed Satrapy (Satrapy of the Crater)

In canon, this is known as Silver Shadow.

The Empire is wounded and this wound must be healed before the Empire dies.  Until the invasion of Sheng Seleris, this Satrapy was called the Satrapy of Raibanth and traditionally administered by a Rinliddi.  But when the Moonson was slain, Ernalda tried to break into the Empire and destroy it; the ground burst open and it's only gotten worse.  Post-restoration, the Crater was ringed with forts and a holy city to contain it and stopped growing.  But everyone fears one day their vigilance will lapse and the maw will open wide enough to swallow the Empire.  The crater is capped with an illusion of normality which prevents people gazing into Ernalda's face and going mad.

A Troll High Priestess serves always as Satrap now, ruling over the area and using its resources to maintain the Gauntlet which keeps the crater under control.  Trolls run the Satrapy, which means administration is lousy and threats and intimidation are high.  

Satrap Shazkarak (Darkness, Stasis, Law) - Mistress race trolls are rare and get a bigger font.  Satrap Shazkarak has devoted her life to containing the Crater and expects her descendents to do the same.  She blames the Curse of Kin for their inability to close this abyss and is deeply involved with the ongoing hunt for Nysalor's bodyparts, in hopes of ending it.  She makes heavy use of adventurers to deal with the earth threats which escape and to hunt down needed items.  The most trusted ones get sent looking for Nysalor bits.  

The Crater:  Ringed by mountains which suspiciously resemble Ernalda's crown if it was made of rock.  Because Glorantha is flat, you can see the Crater from much of the Empire, since the peaks are three miles high and the Crater is 25 miles across.  No one knows where it leads to, though the usual belief is you tumble right into Ernalda's ever-hungry maw and she eats you.  An illusion, maintained by the City of Glamour, makes it look like a dry, boring valley if you fly over it.

Mind you, flying over it is considered Treason Supreme and the punishment is to be locked in a Hell Prison forever.

Glamour:  The City That Doesn't Exist.  This city simultaneously maintains the illusion that binds the Crater and generates itself by the endless rites which take place in the Seven Temples of the Seven Sailors and the Temple of the Blue Moon at the center.  If disrupted, the city would evaporate.  It is a place of endless, but imaginary pleasures.  They are real while you stay but anything you take out of Glamour dissolves.  Stay too long and you can never leave because your entire body is now made of illusion.  Only the Satrap and a few other people, like the Moonson, are immune to this.  (There is a general rumor that anyone with enough Stasis magic won't experience the pleasures of the city but also won't be consumed by it.)

Gods Wall:  An ancient monument, allegedly carved by Lodril.  It depicts the coronation of the first Emperor of Dara Happa, being crowned by the Blue Moon.  A hundred gods stand in attendance, including the Seven Sailors (even though they were not yet born during the Golden Age).  Certain texts claim the Gods Wall once showed all the gods submitting to Yelm.  The BRT offers rewards for anyone turning in such texts and will not ask where you found them.  Please report any such malicious lies.

Good Shore:  Good Shore is connected to Glamour via a canal.  Supplies are sent to Glamour via the canal, and a touch of Glamour's power leaks down the canal into the city.  This makes the city a blessed place and a place of good luck.  Yara Aranis was born here, child of the Moonson in his first incarnation, the Goddess of Good Tidings.  When the Moonson wants to make a proclamation, her power manifests here and makes the announcement and in all her temples across the land.  

Iothaka:  The cult of Ernalda tempted the Basalt Phalanx to betray the Dara Happans in the Second Age, and the whole city had to be destroyed.  But the Empire has to periodically root out  Ernalda cultists plotting against the empire and their monsters.  This city lays in dangerous ruins.

Joy Rest:  Destroyed by Sheng Seleris, the city was eventually rebuilt in the late 1400s as a resort town around the hot springs which sprang up when the city was completed.  It is well known for its theaters, spas, brothels, clubs, and the resort estates of some of the wealthiest Imperials.  It's also noted for an underground *Troll Spa* favored by the Satrap.  Non-Trolls probably cannot survive visiting it unless they are as tough as a troll.  This doesn't stop macho idiots from trying.

Kalvostos:  Only traders and fools go to Kalvostos.  In older times, the Jasper Phalanx came from this city, noted for defeating Rinliddi.  The city is now ruled by Bird Hsunchen of various kinds who torment the locals, watching them for even the tiniest legal infraction, then turning them in or harrassing them for bribes and worse.  Because the Rinliddi were among the first Hsunchen to rally to the Blue Moon Goddess, the Imperial authorities do nothing about this.

Moon Wall:  Levelled by Sheng Seleris, it was rebuilt in the 1470s with an outer wall which resembles the Blue Moon's surface; it is essentially a map of part of the Blue Moon.  At the center of town is the Temple of the Steel Sword, which empowers the Steel Sword Legion, which is headquartered here.  The temple's power helps to make swords forged in this city exceptionally strong and sharp.  It is rumored the temple contains doors which connect to Merinta Reborn, both on Glorantha and on the Blue Moon.  The Temple is itself made from a rock which fell from the sky and the 'steel' of the Steel Sword is made from melding a strange metal found within with charcoal, producing weapons which are both strong and flexible.  It is known that rites of the cult enable the rock to regenerate, producing more 'steel stock'.

Plain of Jars:  This area is full of huge stone jars the size of houses.  Many are marked with runes of known grains, fruits and vegetables; others have mystery runes.  It is strongly suspected this has something to do with Ernalda worship but there is a small temple here of Irripi Ontor, whose priests are studying this mystery.

Northern Raibanth:  Ever since the Dara Happans revolted in the late 1200s, this city has been in three parts.  East and South Raibanth have both been allowed to turn into slums, but Northern Raibanth is still beautiful and prosperous.  The streets are lit at night, the Dara Happan estates prosper and even the poor live in clean, tidy neighborhoods.  The local Dara Happans cling to the past and can just barely afford to keep the city in good shape.  This ensures they'll never have the money to challenge the Empire again.

Dara Happans claim the city overlaps with the magical city of Yuthubars; while it is the subject of much sarcasm by non Dara Happans, it is real and it overlaps with the physical reality of the city.  The city centers around a giant ziggurat - the Footstool of Yelm.  This is where Emperors theoretically reside and where the Ten Tests are administered to each Emperor.  It is said that the Moonson has somehow bent the world such that his quarters in New Merinta are *also* inside the Footstool of Yelm.  

The city has the usual temples of the Blue Moon pantheon, but the locals put more effort into the various solar temples.  Of particular note is the Temple of Raibamus, son of Emperor Murharzarm; Raibamus is the patron god of the city now and there are two giant statues of him in front of his temple.  One shows him kneeling to the Blue Moon.  The other shows him ripping a dragon in half, with each piece in one of his hands.  Dragonewts who see this statue become ill and retreat.  It is said to date back to the overthrow of the Dragon Emperor in the Second Age.

A few Hsunchen dwell here, but they're under strict limits, enforced as they are in few other places.  This remains a city for Dara Happans, though a city struggling to keep up the facade of greatness.

There is a great arena on the edge of the city where the Moonson sometimes performs (in his current incarnation, Catticus.)

Vistur:  At first glance, Vistur is a normal market town, peaceful and quiet.  At second glance, it is a hotbed of Red Moon cultist activity.  Imperial Agents vanish here regularly and there seems to somehow be an *eighth* day of the week, Moonday.  Moonday slips in between Freezeday and Waterday; if you leave the city during it, you jump forwards to the start of Waterday.  Only by being in the city on Freezeday can you enter Moonday.  During Moonday, a red moon hangs in the sky and everything is as the Red Moonies dream it will become.  Debate rages on what and how to deal with this.

Volthena:  This city was rebuilt several times before being abandoned.  It was allegedly sacked by Arkat but the geography of the war doesn't line up.  It was sacked by Mostali who came out of the ground and trashed everything, then took exactly 1/4 of the stone. A Dara Happan Emperor got confused and had it sacked, thinking it was a different city.  A lunatic mage claimed the city could form together into a giant war machine and just trashed it.  Finally, Sheng Seleris sacked it on general principles.  Freakish celestial creatures roam the ruins, killing people and anyone who stays too long is cursed.  The survivors moved to Joy Rest. 



Edited by John Biles
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Satrapy of Karasal

Most of this satrapy was long part of the Kingdom of Karasal, which defied the Dara Happans in favor of a pantheon of goddesses who saw Yelm as a usurper.  But they submitted to the Blue Moon when she came.  The easternmost part of the Satrapy is part of the old Dara Happan Empire; the rest was the kingdom.  Karasal acknowledges the power of the Blue Moon but Hsunchen are mostly found in the Darasen Hills; much of the land is endless farmland and pasture tended by Pelorians and Lodrilli peasants.  

The Satrap of this Satrapy is always a woman and always not a Dara Happan.  Beyond that, anything goes.  The current Satrap is Satrap Dushasa of Boldhome, from the fractious southern land of Sartar.  She is a priestess of Lankhor Mhy,  Her appointment stunned everyone but the Moonson said it was done to show Sartar was part of the Empire and that its gods now served the Empire. 

Satrap Dushasa of Boldhome (Water, Truth, Law) wears a fake beard, as does her entire cult, which she has tried to promote in Karasal with limited success.  (Those inclined that way either sign up with the local goddess of wisdom or go Irrippi Ontor).  She is a staunch supporter of the Imperial University and briefly taught there before the Moonson saw her sing and decided she should be a Satrap.  Initiated into the Changing Way, she is a Cat Hsunchen.  She is the youngest satrap but acts like a grumpy old intellectual.

Arirvalves:  Normally, Dendara is worshipped as the wife of Yelm in shrines linked to Yelm's temples.  Here, she is the dominant figure and Yelm is basically treated as a well-meaning idiot, as the male gods of Karasal usually are.  Arirvalves is visited by Little Sister each year during Sea Season for special rites.  The town is otherwise a fairly normal market town, though it does produce high quality cloth.

Darsen Hills:  This area is heavily forested and gently rolling in long ridges.  Deer and Boar Hsunchen dominate the area.  But it's also home to many ancient Karasal shrines, including the sacred cave where the gods returned from the Underworld when the Great Darkness ended.

Graclodont:  This city is the capital of the Karasal Satrapy; the Satrap has built a huge library and temple of Lhankor Mhy, but she's had to import scholars.  The temple has an ongoing feud with the Irripi Ontor temple and the city is in the middle of a large Tea Party as a result, making it dangerous for visitors.

Joranit:  This substantial port town is home to the White Sea Fleet.  A temple of Yanafal Tarnils dominates the city, though the temples of the river goddess and the White Sea goddess are nearly as large; trade with Thrice Blessed flows through this city and a grand fishing fleet is based here; the city is notable for its heavy seafood and rice diet.  

Katchari:  Katchari is a city of Dog Hsunchen; it's unusual for Dog Hsunchen to form a city but the cult of Dalastan the Star Captain and his True Dog Celestial Companion Laran drew Dog Hsunchen when Karasal joined the Empire.  A light forest of fruit trees surrounds the city, which is carved into the local hills instead of having buildings; you might not even realize it is a city from the sky, save for the one formal building - The Temple of Dalastan and Laran.  

Keravero:  This substantial port city controls where the Portalistor River flows into the White Sea.  As a result, it's a huge, prosperous trade center.  It's also home to a great temple, the temple of Kalikos - the Ice Breaker Expeditions set off from here.  The city also has many Thrice Blessed visitors; many will never see any other city of the Empire.

Perkos:  This city is devoted to Yelm Brightface, the version of Yelm in the mythology of Karasal.  This Yelm is basically an arrogant tyrant who has to be thrown down the stairs to learn some humility.  His own wife set him up to die at Orlanth's hands because he was that lousy.  But, in the end, he is the Sun and he's needed but he has to be kept in his place.  Dara Happan criminals are sent here to embody Yelm when it's time for his punishment each year.  

Red Fish:  This city is largely underwater, a center for Fish Hsunchen of various kinds and their True Animal companions.  There is a small dry area on the shore where business is done with surface-dwellers.  The city was founded by a Red Snapper Hsunchen, Ilia Yllarnos, who is one of the lesser-known daughters of the Moonson.  

Thardenero:  This holy city has shrines to the 100 Goddesses of Karasal; most of them are normally pretty low-key, though they do get a lot of pilgrimages since in some cases, the only major shrine of that goddess is here.  But once every 23 years, all the goddesses embody in their shrines and the city transforms into a glorious, heavenly place as they meet in a council in the great Temple of the Blue Moon in the heart of the city.  Little Sister attends the council but only votes to break ties.  When the council goes well, Karasal flourishes.  One of the effects of this is that Sheng Seleris' forces were unable to conquer this city.  

Yukorvikoth:  This city is dominated by Dara Happans, though they are harrassed by the bat and bird Hsunchen who dwell in the upper levels of the city and by the rat Hsunchen who lurk below.  While it serves as a market town, it also is the major administrative center in the southern part of the Satrapy, collecting taxes and tribute and sending them by river to the Osilir and thus to other points.  The Fish Hsunchen who control the shipments are on good terms with the city's Dara Happans, in an old relationship of mutual benefit.  

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