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Western Hero Wars Status Quo


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Developing relevant JC materials for the terminal Third Age West presents its share of challenges. On one hand, the Guide presents a richer 1621 status quo than we've ever had to work with, confirming the most robust historical insight while pruning back a few of the more wayward branching paths. However, advancing the timeline to 1625 without benefit of a regional King of Sartar or decades of systematic Sartar Rising style exploration means sacrificing a lot of that hard-won clarity on the altar of current events. Time is moving fast now. If you want to get ahead of it, you need to move faster.

Maybe you help us get it moving here. Let's start by refreshing the scene:

It's 1625. All the cool people in Seshnela are dead or desperate. Theoblanc assassinated all the freethinkers he can catch and if his buddy Guilmarn hasn't crushed the Quinpolic League yet we know how it plays out. Unless you want to start your epic saga in the last days of a doomed struggle, MGF argues for ending the Crusade soon after the somewhat apocalyptic Harrek sighting in late 1623. This was never an especially friendly time and place for player characters anyway, so there isn't a lot of drama to gain from setting up a relatively sympathetic counterweight early in the game and watching them lose.

That's prequel material. It was a dark time for the rebellion in 1621 and it's slightly darker time now. That's how the light gets in, with pissed off exploding apprentices, quixotic horseback heroquests, peasant uprisings, forest witches, cat people outbreaks, all that good stuff. Also some bona fide bad stuff, people turning to diabolism and chaos.

We also need to give Father Laurel and King Hardy a little time to establish their oppressive supremacy because the Waertagites need their own window to sweep the sea clean after the League falls but before Boat Planet rises in 1624 or otherwise any effort to undo the Opening looks a little silly. There's no sign in RQG of Dormal being under serious pressure. I think the green men are getting their green butts kicked for reasons that are MGF exciting to discover in play. The sailors are dealing internally with the new maritime dynamics but on the surface it's more or less business as usual. Refugee Navigationalist insights might help this happen. Either way, keep the seas unsettled and Open. If you're brave, you can evade the dragon ships.

There are, however, a bunch of new True Brithini on the mainland who are familiar with conditions and developments on the island, so we want to keep them around to provide intelligence as well as thematic resolution. The Hero Wars are all about our last chance to tie off all the loose ends of the world, after all. I have my dumb theories that need to be workshopped before being served to guests. I will say that MGF requires twists and revelations. Keep them gasping. Keep them engaged.

Moving north, the Arkat Returns! prompt is so iconic that your players deserve to participate in it for themselves and a whole new generation has stories to tell. Textual cues tell me King Hardy starts stinking the place up as fast as he possibly can after crushing the League in order to exploit lingering disruption from the Swarm . . . the farther out we get from 1622, the more time the locals have to clean up the mess. Maybe he pushes the button 1-3 seasons before active play starts so the war is still out over the horizon while the players get set up. Maybe Arkat Returns 2-3 seasons into the campaign so the players can make a meaningful difference and have a good seat. Either way, Laurel & Hardy quickly discover it is possible to bite off more than you can chew. Imagine me crying here. 

A similar situation applies in Fronela, where generations of players have wanted to Wage War On War and it would be cruel to open that action when it's too late to participate. (Remember, unlike the Quinpolic Crusade where the initial outcome is fixed and only makes the region more of a downer, the big Ralios and Fronela struggles remain question marks. MGF always.) Things are getting real. Ratchet up the tension and the philosophical ambivalence. Xemstown and the last Jonat tribes are fresh from the ban now so that will give people plenty to do. Maybe drop the War bomb in 1626 or even later. 

We know something like good guys win this one because there's still something like a civilization left for Phargentes TakenEgi to conquer circa 1642. That much is easy now. All we need to do is keep the story interesting between here and there and then beyond. Likewise, we know there's still an Arkat presence in Ralios as late as the 1640s (mid decade looks reasonable) so evidently shock and awe got a little bogged down. Keep that storyline rotating. We don't really know anything about how that one ultimately plays out in the final weird phases of the hero wars. Nobody has come back to tell us.

I don't think Guilmarn is the Talar Of The West because Cragspider-XIII has the serpent crown in dispute, which will not happen while Hardy is alive, but then again, I don't think Guilmarn's talar powers of command were authentic anyway so IMG he can't really command the Brithini sorcerers. Your Hero Wars Will Vary. This is part of the story. 

Instead I think my boy Aamor the Wanderer becomes the last of the sacred serpent kings under the full panoply of the old rite with a few new twists along the way. But at this point things are going to look a little strange to people schooled in the 1621 world. By 1630 the glacier is moving and the old world is effectively doomed to ecological disaster anyway and that's how the last serpent king eventually dies. 

Charg opens in 1628 and complicates Carmanian independence. I would count this plot into the Western Hero Wars (and also the Lunar Civil Wars) because by definition all worlds come together at the end and we are made of everything. This is a good place to note that if spillover from the West does not cast a shadow on the Dragon Pass plot it's not because nothing is going on here . . . the magic simply points in a different direction and the shadow falls across other regions. Arguably much of the Western plot projects south. Maybe it even projects east. And it definitely affects Lunar policy throughout this era, with the Arrolian Territories and Carmania in the middle.

Working back around to Maniria, I have a hidden joke about why Guilmarn seems content to crush the League and then turn north, leaving the apparently fragile Trader Prince network to become an underground refugee railroad and otherwise remain a thorn in his gigantic ass. They have their role to play and this far from the Dragon Pass plot this is where they play it, looking west and not east. Otherwise, we know Greymane has thrown his last party as of 1624 so the western tribes are probably riled up but in flux . . . like everyone in the greater Orlanth belt after the Windstop. Apocalyptic movements, new and old rites, warrior opportunities across Ralios, Jonatela and beyond. To the east, Malkonwal is fallen and its people are circulating across the mix of refugees from everywhere else.

We know the elves are busy in Arstola and elsewhere but timing there is a challenge. Unlike the more aggressively genocidal troll / dwarf plots I see the New Forest as something transient and survivable . . . after all, human civilization has weathered plenty of New Forests in historical times and come back stronger than ever. This is a B plot for the Western Hero Wars and the Hero Wars writ large, something more like the faerie interactions we see in the Great Pendragon Campaign. They have a different plan for us and it has different ramifications. Maybe it starts small around 1625 and proceeds in parallel with the human magical agendas. Players can chase its mysteries or just cope with it as another complication they need to worry about.

Cragspider thinks Brithos is ultimately eaten by ice trolls and I want to believe. Your turn.
 

Edited by scott-martin
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Developing relevant JC materials for the terminal Third Age West presents its share of challenges. On one hand, the Guide presents a richer 1621 status quo than we've ever had to work with, confirming

I got seriously into Malkionism when we were writing How the West was One (written in 1993-4), and that game began when David Hall said "Wouldn't it be fun to turn [Chris Gidlow's theological card-gam

"It is a period of holy war. Arkati Men-of-All, striking from a hidden fortress, have won their first victory against the evil Kingdom of Seshnela. During the battle, Arkati spies managed to steal sec

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29 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Maybe you help us get it moving here. Let's start by refreshing the scene

Good idea!

30 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Guilmarn hasn't crushed the Quinpolic League yet we know how it plays out.

By 1625, the refugee fleets are underway, and they are sailing east.  A great horde of migrants from Nolos and Pasos (and Pithdaros?) are on their naval flotilla.  They've got to get past Ramalia, of course, and likely some won't.  But there will be a flood of folk docking at Handra, and some maybe at Fay Jee, but I expect as many as 5000 will get directed on, make the turn at the Right Arm Isles and will arrive in Nochet.  Welcomed with open arms?  Well, that remains to be seen.  We've already got sparring Malkioni outside the city - one of which has close ties to House Norinel.  What is Queen Samastina to do with them?  That carries us away from the west, but it is one of the diasporas that brings the west to us. 

However, there may well be those among the diaspora who seek to resurrect New Malkonwal, or to find New Malkonwal so that they may carry the TRUE Crusade west and restore their homes.  These are exiles after all and many among the nobles and zzaburi who were forced to flee will want to plot and find paths for revenge.

36 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Maybe he pushes the button 1-3 seasons before active play starts so the war is still out over the horizon while the players get set up. Maybe Arkat Returns 2-3 seasons into the campaign so the players can make a meaningful difference and have a good seat.

Yes, that would set the Ralian stage nicely. 

And, of course, we need to engage the Orlanthi here, and whatever is spilling westward from Dorastor.

44 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Apocalyptic movements, new and old rites, warrior opportunities across Ralios, Jonatela and beyond.

Somehow I think we need to circle back to Hrelar Amali.  Elf and troll certainly, but seems like there's more here to invite new visions and old quests. 

36 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

A similar situation applies in Fronela, where generations of players have wanted to Wage War On War and it would be cruel to open that action when it's too late to participate.

Yes, should be smack in the middle of it.  Uneasy alliances are needed, diplomatic missions to places typically unfriendly, but if you're going to stop War, you can't be too choosy.

 

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Some immediate thoughts, from the percolating stew that Handra is in my mind at the moment-

The Manirian/Trader Prince Hero Wars are definitely pointing north and west, to Seshnela and Ralios. Relics of the God Learners and Arkat abound here in the metaphorical sense, and also probably in the literal sense. The Seas are now far more Open than they have ever been, the guardians sitting atop sunken ruins have been weakened, or possibly awakened. (MGF- throw a daikaiju at players if they show an interest in those naval combat rules that seem likely to pop up).

Maniria is also a good place to get people in contact with the New Forest- there are elf-friends in large numbers, there are the Pralori, who probably have a complex relationship with the Aldryami forests, and so there are ways to get yourself safe-conduct into the deep green.

With that in mind, perhaps some of the cloak-and-dagger aspects of Safelster in the Guide can be pushed further south here. The Arkati may be looking for forgotten triumphs and defeats of Arkat here, or pathways to some of his foes, King Hardy's Keystone Kommandos might well be looking for the same things, or else for forgotten secrets that will allow him to become the serpentine mask. (Pralori Serpent Beasts/Serpent Dancers seem relevant- but they're not present in the apocalypses of the Guide. MGF suggests they're either a road not taken- or the Forest People of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. A means to move closer to enlightenment before facing down the Crypt of Shuwa and taking up the armory of the incarnation of despair against the poisonous hope of recreating the old as it was- fractal reflections of some other Hero Wars events here.)

Moving out into the seas, the Triolini have seemed fairly geographically segregated, strange for the ocean, but they probably had their own effects from the Closing. The Waertagi may be preoccupied catching up on undelivered mail at first. Eventually the Flood will come... but is this similar to the World Machine Reboot Effort? The great devouring the Uz plan? Or is it something more malleable? Of course, that depends on a better understanding of the position of the Triolini in the cosmos, and on tying them into the symbolic web.

If we go inland, we have, of course, Ramalia. A good place for people to get into the Destroyer mood. Sacred pigs rooting up the earth.

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We can go deeper, into Safelster, or further west, to Arolanit, and whatever arguments may ensue when True Brithini set their heels upon that Tapped-out ground. I think I may need to re-immerse myself in the sources before doing that, though.

Edited by Eff
Accidentally disrepected His Slapstickery Guilmarn
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1 hour ago, Eff said:

With that in mind, perhaps some of the cloak-and-dagger aspects of Safelster in the Guide can be pushed further south here. The Arkati may be looking for forgotten triumphs and defeats of Arkat here, or pathways to some of his foes

So much buried in lost Slontos!  IIRC, that is where Arkat came ashore to first battle Palangio.  And it's central to the efforts of the Middle Sea Empire to push eastward.  And all just off the coast of Maniria.

Can someone just get Slonta to roll back over?  Or does someone need to summon Lodril here to give her some new life/land?  (Long term, of course, a breakwater and uplifted land behind it would be nice when the Flood comes again.)

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35 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Can someone just get Slonta to roll back over?  Or does someone need to summon Lodril here to give her some new life/land?  (Long term, of course, a breakwater and uplifted land behind it would be nice when the Flood comes again.)

Sounds like a great adventure hook for a Caladralander hero.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

What is Queen Samastina to do with them?  That carries us away from the west, but it is one of the diasporas that brings the west to us. 

That's an essential point. Players have a certain comfort level with the Heortling part of the world now but avenues for extending that knowledge into the West are limited. You can be a sailor, go overland through Maniria, travel up through the Empire and out via the Janube or over Kartolin (yikes) . . . or you can meet the people who come to you. For most of the last 600 years at least, the Manirian and far Charg routes were the only real game in town and Charg shut down in 1499. Exiles and archives are the only ways most people were ever exposed to non-Aeolian expressions of this way of life. 

I wonder how the Aeolians are responding to the influx of strangers, especially with the Malkonwal adventure still fresh in many minds. Either way, Samastina has her own foreign sorcerers to drive any magical experimentation her enthusiasts care to attribute to her. Who needs Argrath anyway!

3 hours ago, Eff said:

Pralori Serpent Beasts/Serpent Dancers seem relevant

I love this, the broader Ghibli ecological concern (another green world) and the alignment with @jajagappa's circle back to Hrelar Amali. I skipped over a lot of Old Ways Revivals in this part of the world because IMG these returns to origins are more liberating when we see how restrictive the failing new ways have become. But I hope everyone across the West gets a chance to look back and draw power from it. For most people that means paganism, hsunchen heritage, the forest. For others that means an authentic + redemptive relationship to colonial origins. We step back in order to take a huge leap forward.

Definitely pigs and maybe giant nuclear battle robots or the equivalent. (Old moons.) While the world is doomed some of us still have 20-30 years easy to turn up the heat.
 

57 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Sounds like a great adventure hook for a Caladralander hero.

Caladra sure is getting interesting!

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

I wonder how the Aeolians are responding to the influx of strangers, especially with the Malkonwal adventure still fresh in many minds. Either way, Samastina has her own foreign sorcerers to drive any magical experimentation her enthusiasts care to attribute to her. Who needs Argrath anyway!

The Aeolians were blessed under Belintar - three centuries of peace and prosperity, but likely a general stagnation of their culture (why change when the gods and ancestors, except of course IG, walk among you and contribute to the theme-park world?  Have a picture painted on your home of you chatting with Orlanth, Hueymakt, and the gang!).  

But then we hit post-Belintar.  Rikard comes, Philosopher King and all, and the prospect of New Malkonwal.  A bit of squabbling with Broyan, and next thing you know it's a Lunar invasion.  Rikard, philosophy, and New Malkonwal gives way to Lunar occupiers, the philosophy of might makes right, and the rump end of the Lunar Empire. 

Now we're at 1625 and the Aeolians are left to their own devices.  Some want to get back to the Governor (maybe King this time?) of Heortland - yes, Belintar's gone, but we were running well just the same.  Traditional Aeolianism is where it's at - and that's likely centered at Mount Passant (and Refuge).

Then there are those touched by the dreams of New Malkonwal.  We can be Malkion!  But is this a philosophical dream?  Or is it a prophecy- and prophet-driven Return to Rightness?  Probably both.  Nobles/zzaburi who allied with Rikard saw it as opportunity then - and now with the Lunars gone, it's time to reassert that ideal/utopia.  This feels like it would be situated in Durengard, a city of government, trade, and functionaries.

But among whom does prophecy arise in this culture?  Perhaps among those zzaburi who see the failure of Orngerin, the failure of Rikard, as the failings of a nobility who have cast Rightness aside.  Although with an Aeolian color to it, the One God/One King idea seems likely to take root here too.  And where better perhaps than Vizel, the city of free-thinkers?  (Or perhaps Mount Passant - bring Aeolianism back to its roots!)

Three good, conflicting strands.  Plenty to keep southern Heortland in disarray.  Maybe they need an Argrath after all?!

The outstanding question is whether the diaspora from Nolos/Pasos comes to Heortland?  Somehow the idea of an influx at Refuge is appealing.  Otherwise, the poor dregs of the diaspora may be left off at Leskos - find their own way to huddle in Durengard.

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Given how unplayed the West is in RuneQuest, starting a game there in 1625 would IMO be a waste of all the plot hooks we have in the Guide. Same for pretty much any part of Glorantha other than Prax and Dragon Pass.

 

The events around Brithos and Tanisor enter the Hero Wars when the Windstop ends.

I have become more and more convinced that "Orlanth in Hell" may have been the trigger for the Waertagi to finding their way out of Hell, more so than the efforts to put their ancestral planet named Waertag back into the Sky River.

We have sources crediting the Waertagi with the flooding of Jrustela. If they re-appeared at the port where the Sky River branches off into the Upper World, they would have encountered sailors schooled by Dormal there. Perhaps even Dormal himself.

 

Aamor's quest for lost Brithos (and his previous schoolings by Xeotam) might be an Argrath-like campaign in itself, much like Gebel's exploits in Fonrit a story-hero driven narrative where player character actions converge with the path of the story hero, whether to rise in those ranks or whether to take over all the good parts of that destiny.

 

If the Waertagi contact Brithos shortly after the Windstop ends in 1622, the Aamor story-line will have come to an at least temporary conclusion as he is the prime candidate for having his hopes betrayed, at least for the moment, assuming he manages to escape the bloody sacrifices by a hair's breadth. If he is a true heroquester, that setback may have sent him off into a crazy Otherworld journey he may come back from. Possibly as one of the five Arkats.

 

The Duchy of Nolos is going to see the brunt of the Tanisoran invasion. A land campaign may quickly overrun the continental part of the duchy, with Pithdaros possibly being given a chance to declare for the Rokari watchers and joining the ranks of the Tanisoran forces. Turning on their erstwhile ally and liege Mulliam might help them to keep hiding their true Hrestoli allegiances while the Watchers deal with the Navigationalists.

The broad estuary of the Tanier River looks like the most likely staging area for the Waertagi capital units. It isn't clear to me how they contact Guilmarn or Theoblanc in order to coordinate their coastal assaults, but then there is a possibility that they started those even before making contact with Guilmarn.

There don't appear to be any significant numbers of merfolk around the Pasos Isles or Kanthor's Isles. That means that the Pasos fisherfolk may have an initial advantage over the deepwater fleet of the Waertagi due to their familiarity with the shallows and hiding places of these elf forest outskirts. That advantage lessens as they Pasos archipelago gives way to Kanthor's archipelago and the Luatha-controled part of Seshnela.

 

What portion of the Quinpolic population would flee, and in which direction?

The orthodox Rokari among the population might feel secure from the fury of the Tanisorans, at least initially, before encountering the flower of Tanisoran nobility and their notion of chivalry when on a crusade. The navigationalists on the other hand are the ones most likely to board their trading ships and seek refuge overseas, or at least on the Pasos archipelago when Mulliam overruns continental Nolos.

 

Will there be some who push towards Ginorth and the Castle Coast? It would be Quinpolic ships which carry the majority of the Iron trade with Belskan, so they should be quite familiar with the Castle Coast sorcerer-knights (old-style Hrestoli Men-of-All) of that area, and at least some trading houses will have contacts or even kin (or at least in-laws) here, making this one possible area of refuge if Waertagi pursuers can be delayed with the sacrifice of the remnants of their trireme fleet.

But then, few if any captains would have any experience in using the channels around the old Temple to Seshna. But with a fleet of Waertagi ships in pursuit, facing a single ship crewed by Luatha might seem as an acceptable risk, especially if there is hope that Waertagi and Luatha might annihilate one another.

Take a look at the map (Guide p.418, or Argan Argar Atlas p.35). The land around the Temple is at least 2000 feet (600 meters) above water level, in places more than 3000 feet (roughly 1000 m) - that's as high as the Shadow Plateau. The fissures were created by the breaking of Seshnela in the Luathan rites.

Such a seismic event will create steep walls, but will also cause a certain slope to result from immediate shake-up and then six centuries of weathering.

I expect cave complexes to have broken open by those events - many of them collapsed, but others relying on the Likiti magics to keep their shape. We might even encounter an underground race of part-serpent, part humanoid earth demigods at these new interfaces.

 

There might be refugees desperate enough to attempt to bargain for the support of the Temple. At the very least, that would be stuff for a campaign. And yes, that is a possible alternative (or temporary exploit) for Aamor. The leader of this wouldn't become a serpent king himself, though - his child by Seshna might, though.

 

The Waertagi probably would already have probed these shores upon their return - the Castle Coast is the former heartland of the Middle Sea Empire, as far as the Waertagi know, and unless they have allied with the Luatha, they might very well seek to conquer the coastal cities of Old Seshnela in a first invasion. Instead they find elaborate and possibly fancy but still functional over-sized castles offering a secure refuge from their corsairs, well drilled from decades of exposure to their neighbors in Ginorth and any of their Yggite cousins traveling through this stretch of the Neliomi. But then, Theoblanc may very well make Guilmarn send troops onto Waertagi carriers to eliminate this harbor of heretics for good.

The Castle Coast doesn't really have the capacity to hold vast numbers of refugees, but Loskalm does, and the war efforts against the Kingdom of War will actually lead to a demand for manpower.

 

By 1623, the siege of Nolos will probably have resulted in the loss of the city, although the ducal citadel might still hold out when Harrek's flotilla arrives from Jrustela.

We know that Harrek is going to fight the Waertagi (viewed from the 1621 end to known development) and plunder Noloswal, so I wonder whether he catches the Waertagi ships while they are in the last stages of that siege, catching the Tanisoran and Waertagi forces from behind and neutralizing any naval advantages the Waertagi might have had by suprising them on the beach or in port. In an open sea battle, the tiny penteconters of the Yggites and whatever other ships may have joined the Wolf Pirate fleet at Threestep up to 1621 and during the Circumnavigation hardly stand a chance in a non-magical sea battle on open waters, and even with a few heroic spearhead ships I doubt that the Waertagi flotilla of underwater vessels would have been put to much trouble when operating in conjunction with their capital units. If Harrek had any Crater-Makers-like ability after returning from Jrustela, I would have expected to see it at Pennel or in the Dragon Pass battles, but no such unit or reports exist, which rules out any magic even minimally paralleling Tanien's Victory.

We also know that the encounter with Harrek is an initial opposition, but that the Waertagi greater plan is at best inconvenienced by this encounter. Even if the Wolf Pirates manage to destroy the local flotilla, the Waertagi have more ships, and will continue with their plans.

We have no suggestion of Loskalm being visited by vengeful Waertagi, but on the other hand, Sog City is expecting them, and in a rather near future a Grazer King is about to meet a green-skinned admiral of theirs in Sog City. And that's before Phargentes Takenegi shows his face in the neighborhood. (Also, the Elf Reforestation may very well hit before this triumphant largest expansion of the Lunar Empire.  A Lunar domination - not necessarily imperieal could last at most 10 years until the flood even if Argrath Lightbringer managing to repulse the Empire from Kethaela and Saird leaves some form of Lunar order in Fronela, assuming that the conflict between the Kingdom of War and Loskalm has been resolved already.)

 

A portion of the Nolosites may have tried to evacuate on Vadeli rescue ships, and if they did so, they might be looking forward to a new home on Jrustela or in Fonritian coastal cities as property of these new overlords. Compare the Children's Crusade - possibly make this a "women and children first" evacuation.

 

An evacuation towards the East would be mingling or closely followed by Harrek's circumnavigating fleet, arriving at Alatan, Khorst or Handra before even coming into the vicinity of Kethaela.

20 hours ago, jajagappa said:

By 1625, the refugee fleets are underway, and they are sailing east.  A great horde of migrants from Nolos and Pasos (and Pithdaros?) are on their naval flotilla.  They've got to get past Ramalia, of course, and likely some won't.  But there will be a flood of folk docking at Handra, and some maybe at Fay Jee, but I expect as many as 5000 will get directed on, make the turn at the Right Arm Isles and will arrive in Nochet.  Welcomed with open arms?  Well, that remains to be seen.  We've already got sparring Malkioni outside the city - one of which has close ties to House Norinel.  What is Queen Samastina to do with them?  That carries us away from the west, but it is one of the diasporas that brings the west to us. 

5000 people arriving in Kethaela would mean about 10,000 people leaving the Quinpolic League. That's a whole lot of ships. Does the Quinpolic League have this much room in their cargo holds?

From personal memory, the cargo vessel at Cyrene (Cyprus) has about the same cargo capacity as the Gokstad ship (for which we have RQ3 stats in RQ3 Vikings). In a refugee situation (like the ongoing one on the Mediterranean), such a ship could carry maybe a hundred people for a single journey, under similarly desperate conditions. That would still require a flotilla of fifty such ships, plus an armada of smaller vessels (coastal fishing and small traders) for the other half.

But then the ship-owner families would more likely outfit a family ship, for themselves and their most trusted retainers, and as many movable wealth as they can get aboard, rather than evacuating hundreds of desperate folk.

The Solkathi waters are definitely too warm to stage a reprise of the 1945 exodus across the Baltic Sea, but then the Kingdom of War will have both the opportunity and the climate to create conditions like that in Fronela, possibly in the Janube estuary.

 

 

 

15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The Aeolians were blessed under Belintar - three centuries of peace and prosperity, but likely a general stagnation of their culture (why change when the gods and ancestors, except of course IG, walk among you and contribute to the theme-park world?  Have a picture painted on your home of you chatting with Orlanth, Hueymakt, and the gang!).  

This sounds like a scene you might have encountered in Belintar's capital. Do we have any information on where the population of the City of Wonders came from?

My own (uninformed) visits in the place had quarters of citizens of the Sixths, posh areas where functionaries of the Godking had their families, and places where the magical denizens or guests would frequent their temple homes.

How big would the human population have been?

 

The Aeolians in (or rather just outside of) Nochet, in Esvular and the Heortland cities, and those of their Ingareen neighbors who had left their home archipelago to join in Belintar's cosmopolitan urban bureaucracy and its multi-cultural support structure, wouldn't have seen more of the deities than say the inhabitants of Smithstone or WIlmskirk, unless the Godking came over for a state visit. (Admittedly unlikely for Smithstone, but most other Kethaelan cities and major holy sites would have been visited at least once every few years. The termini of the magical bridges and the Fish Roads would have seen significantly more visits of the God King and his divine entourage.

Whether that entourage would have included major aspects of the Great Gods is another question, though. Subcult entities (of Thunder Rebels subcult level weird aspects) are possibly a given.

 

15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

But then we hit post-Belintar.  Rikard comes, Philosopher King and all, and the prospect of New Malkonwal.  A bit of squabbling with Broyan, and next thing you know it's a Lunar invasion.  Rikard, philosophy, and New Malkonwal gives way to Lunar occupiers, the philosophy of might makes right, and the rump end of the Lunar Empire. 

This was basically my old campaign premise. New Malkonwal idealists, cynical western mercenaries, Tarshite Lunars working for Fazzur's and later Pharandros's vision of a Greater Tarsh, agents from Mirin's Cross counteracting that in favour of Appius Luxius and his gang, and rather few Lunar Heartland fanatical haters of all things Orlanthi as most of those would have been caught up in the Assiday plan for the New Lunar Temple (helping or hindering, depending on how the Dart Competition alliances worked out).

Then the Windstop, sitting out the anger and desperation of the occupied peoples holding on to as many stockpiled supplies as could be saved or requisitioned, sitting out or succumbing to the alliance with the Queendom of Jab (some possibly actively resisting Scorpionfolk attacking their strongholds, supported by local Heortlanders), and then basically being posted north of Hadrian's Wall without much (if any) support from either the Kingdom of Tarsh or the Empire as a whole.

(While I never got around to play or even plan this campaign, my idea for Refuge had Prince Orontes (or possibly a slightly less imbecilic twin brother) as the Tarshite governor-prince, accompanied by five Yanafali bodyguards and a few lesser priests, attempting to create a modicum of imperial order in a city of indifferent or even hostile natives and alien-mentality sorcerers, then receiving a small flotilla of Waertagi dissidents refusing to follow the fanatical schemes of the Waertagi returnees from Hell. Using the Thieves World box, of course.)

 

15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Now we're at 1625 and the Aeolians are left to their own devices.  Some want to get back to the Governor (maybe King this time?) of Heortland - yes, Belintar's gone, but we were running well just the same.  Traditional Aeolianism is where it's at - and that's likely centered at Mount Passant (and Refuge).

Apart from the Vulari peninsula (between Kenstone Island and God Forgot), the Aeolians provide at best 50% of the population even in the Esvulari portion of the Heortland Plateau. Their Talar caste, and in all likelihood also their Zzaburi caste, are privileged compared to their Commoner compatriots and traditional Heortlings. Even compared to traditional Heortling nobility, I would expect.

According to Jeff, the Esvulari castes are rather strictly endogamous. And at least at some point in the history of the Aeolian heresy, there must have been rites of adoption or conversion to their brand of Malkionism.

They appear to be the result an early Dawn Age schism between them and the Ingareens of God Forgot, in all likelihood over their willingness to worship the Orlanthi pantheon (if in a somewhat different way, if only by openly accepting sorcerers in their society).

The Foreigner Laws of Aventus (a Larnsti King of the Hendriki when Arkat became a troll and the Orlanthi conquered, then lost Dara Happa) from the early Second Age declared their clans (or however their local organisation was) as one of several non-Hendriki groups required to pay tribute to the Hendriki overlords (who in turn were tributary to the Only Old One, at least until the Tax Slaughter. Daramhy (History of the Heortling Peoples p. 40, p.72), the Arkati Shadowlord who infiltrated and then assassinated his fellow Arkati Shadowlords, appears to have been a Hendriki, ending the Arkati presence east of the Shadowlands already shortly after Arkat's ascension around 500 ST, separating the Aeolians from any connections with the Arkati (except possibly in Nochet).

 

The Nochet Aeolians have their quarter outside of the cyclopean walls of the city, amidst long exhausted clay quarries (possibly given over to use as fish ponds). They appear to be a community of artisans, possibly forming a few quasi-houses interwoven with the Macchiavellan network of obligations and clientism of the Esrolian Houses and Enfranchised Houses.

During the Siege of Nochet, their quarter may very well have been commandeered by besieging Lunar forces. Quite likely no longer Fazzurite followers - those would have been working inside the city, trying to establish Fazzur's new Lunar temple in the southeastern quarter of Nochet before his fall from grace and command.

 

15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Then there are those touched by the dreams of New Malkonwal.  We can be Malkion!  But is this a philosophical dream?  Or is it a prophecy- and prophet-driven Return to Rightness?  Probably both.  Nobles/zzaburi who allied with Rikard saw it as opportunity then - and now with the Lunars gone, it's time to reassert that ideal/utopia.  This feels like it would be situated in Durengard, a city of government, trade, and functionaries.

It isn't entirely clear whether the identification of Heortland with New Malkonwal was a new idea in the Third Age, or whether already the Slontan conquests in Kethaela brought this concept. The Slontan presence on the mainland appears to have been rather short-lived - the conquest of Esrolia lasted maybe three years, the conquests below and atop the Heortland Plateau little longer.

We have three God Leaner travelogues for the Orlanthi lands, the very early one by Hrestol Arganitis in King of Sartar shortly after Obduran the Flyer had resigned from the ruling ring of Orlanthland to meditate upon his transformation into a True Dragon, another one in Middle Sea Empire during the height of draconism possibly shortly before the Machine Wars, but neither of these two mention any place south of Karse. The third travelogue, the Durengard Scrolls in History of the Heortling Peoples, dates from 923 or 924 (fifth year of the reign of Daros, who was crowned in 919), and mentions the Aeolians of the coastal city of Leskos and their relationship to the Slontan conquest by a Lord Danshavalas around 800 ST (during the reign of Svagad, i.e. 789-805 ST). Lylket (below the Shadow Plateau near the Creek-Stream-River/Marzeel estuary) must have been founded around that time, too.

Apart from the God Learner presence in the Leftarm archipelago of God Forgot, the Rightarm Isles have two major God Learner sites, too - Ironfort, and the Zoo.

The Ingareen settlements and these God Learner places might contain documents, artifacts or other hints about a New Malkonwal in the region.

 

The New Malkonwal of the Expulsion March from Brithos apparently was located on the shore of the Faralinthor Sea. The positioning on the mythic map of the God Learners needs to be taken with a few grains of salt, though. Whether eastern Kethaela is the correct place to look for New Malkonwal is another question. Would a Brithini colony that doesn't appear to have switched to Malkionism be an indicator of that exile group of Brithini who stopped being Brithini?

 

15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The outstanding question is whether the diaspora from Nolos/Pasos comes to Heortland?  Somehow the idea of an influx at Refuge is appealing.  Otherwise, the poor dregs of the diaspora may be left off at Leskos - find their own way to huddle in Durengard.

5000 refugees are quite a challenge even for a metropolis the size of Nochet. A certain portion will be caught by their kinfolk who used to be their trading agents in the city. But the source for their wealth was the market at home and their ongoing trade network - quite probably serving the rich hinterland up the Tanier, whether Tanisor or Safelster. With Navigationalism having become a persecuted heresy, that kind of overseas trade doesn't appear to be welcome with the new masters of Noloswal. (Although it may be simply a case of Guilmarn wishing to harvest all the profits from that trade - not exactly an encouragement for those trading houses to return to their homelands.)

5000 refugees in Leskos would double that city's population. If the refugees were dumped onto the beach there, a refugee camp/slum would be the result, without much perspective for any lasting future. The food situation would be tight - while Heortland certainly produces enough surplus to feed 5000 additional mouths in normal years, this is shortly after the Windstop, when the seedstock still needs to be brought up to pre-Windstop amounts, and transporting food for an entire new city needs quite the infrastructure. Or in other words - if Leskos could feed an additional 5k of hungry mouths, the city would already have become that large in the previous years.

Esrolia isn't in a position to export much grain, either, as it too is recovering from the Windstop. Overseas trade for say rice from Melib might actually work, but that surplus is limited, too.

A slightly cynical proposal might be to direct such arrivals to Corflu and the former Lunar Grantlands after the Dragonrise. Or to send them directly to Dosakayo on Melib, which might be better suited to take in such a number of refugees than any place in eastern Kethaela. 

These people would be shipwrights, commercial sailors, and probably some veteran navy personnel. They would be able to keep at least part of their flotilla afloat. But they lack the production base for the products they used to export from their homelands in the Quinpolic League, and taking up maritime trade again is certain to bring the Waertagi to their new homes, too.

Inercontinental trade aboard Waertagi ships had been possible prior to the Battle of Tanian's Victory, but the land-bound merchants received only a fraction of the added value, most of that would go to the Waertagi middlemen for their transport and brokerage. Unlike their customers, the Waertagi have fond memories of this state of affairs, and they won't accept anything less than a return of that monopoly for transoceanic traffic.

The Vadeli don't show any inclination to give up their own special role in such traffic, but will they take a leading role in defending not so much free ocean traffic but their own special cut out of such trades? They are facing (and indeed aiding and abetting) the re-connection of Slon with coastal Umathela, and afterwards the Land-Raising to re-introduce Somelz. Those changes will lead to the relocation of about 50,000 Vadeli in coastal Pamaltela, or their re-orientation as the new slave masters of conquered Umathela. The Vadeli might be willing to sit back and watch how the struggle for domination of the waves will turn out, what is another decade to immortals like them?

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I love this thread. The sagacity is humming on all cylinders and there are great ideas for making the West fun. I don't have a lot to add but in case it gives any ideas or is of interest here's how it was/is being run in my campaign (started 1621, currently midway thru Boat Planet heroquest in 1624 Sea Season; campaign centred on the tiny isle of Giraine off Pithdaros and its hapless heretics enmeshed in QL-Seshnelan politics):     (clearly I read the Guide/other materials' timings of events differently than some)

[spoilers for my players so don't read!]

1621-1623 Seshelan-QL tensions mount, with big Seshnelan invasion of Nolos crushing it in end-1623, Theoblanc declaring Navigationalism anathema (religion dies; Zzaburi/buildings burn etc.) and Pasos assaults begin. Pithdaros tries to help but isn't much aid; coming too late as usual.

PCs gradually learn of Seshna cult connections/revival and "new Froalar" prophecies/possibilties, with one PC becoming such a New Froalar and seeking out a local aspect (fragment) of Seshna Likita to woo. Theme is that the shattered lands of Seshna have many fragmented Likitae who need to be re-united through ties to Talars in order for the land to heal again; and the region. 

Arkati and allies (Elandra, Uz, "Night Dragon" weird Western aspect of Black Dragon/Shadow Dragon, possibly connected to Black Sun out East; etc.) begin slowly extending tendrils into local affairs as that tension in Ralios vs. Seshnela mounts. 

Vadeli are getting their claws into everything and slowly awakening the Blue Vadeli presence, with Red Vadeli pirates becoming more and more of a problem.

1624 it all kicks off: Wolf Pirates return, Mularik leads some Westerners onto the Boat Planet to bring back Waertag the Reaver (for him, to aid the Wolf Pirates and his Arkati schemes vs. Guilmarn; but he doesn't know/care that this helps the Waertagi too). The Boat Planet returns and Waertagi fleet comes back from Hell as a result; they bring the Brithini to help finally crush the QL, and Wolf Pirates move east, with a "puppet" installed to rule Pithdaros, who quickly surrenders to Seshnela rather than fight a doomed battle once Pasos falls. Unfortunately the Vadeli bring back some Hellships of undead Waertagi and so the seas of the West become a battleground for Waertagi vs. Vadeli, for the time being; with Seshnela more focused on their continental affairs vs. Ralios + Arkati. Refugees from QL flee but so far I've envisaged them as thus becoming irrelevant, scattered to the four winds; maybe I will reconsider. Eventually the Brithini will have to intervene with the Vadeli, and the Seshnelans; they are playing the long game.

Chaos seeps in as a result of all of this, encouraged by Vadeli and other villains, and the Gate of Banir opens as "Arkat the Deceiver" returns, and the West gets uglier. I haven't planned precisely how that will pan out, but the other Arkats will be part of the opposition (drawing in PCs of course).

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On 4/26/2021 at 3:38 AM, Snugz said:

(clearly I read the Guide/other materials' timings of events differently than some)

This is fantastic! Which game system are you using?

I am loving the recombinant creativity in play throughout this thread . . . unless we find a way to compensate for Central Genertela's 40-year developmental head start, the rest of the lozenge is doomed to remain sideshow territory. That may ultimately be the outcome after all (a deep mystery of the hero wars) but right now I still think it's possible for other regions to catch up and even match the deep refinement process that created modern terminal third age Dragon Pass.

And if the West can't step up to that standard, what hope does everyone else really have? We're fortunate to have something like a few Deep Sources here at least. It would be great to see more probabilistic board game results and Questworlds / Pendragon Pass style exploration of the historical landscape (at least 1621-5 to set the RQG stage) . . . every game log is extremely valuable because statistical "machine learning" can only take us so far before the results start feeling stale. We might not need 40 years of active play at all this time around. Then we can apply what we've learned to regions that don't even have Deep Sources yet.

[seshna dragon plot] . . . this is astounding!

On 4/25/2021 at 5:48 PM, Joerg said:

send them directly to Dosakayo on Melib

This is my favorite idea of the season because this exile community then opens up a corner of the East to similar development down the road. We learn about the West and set the stage for its hero wars by seeing westerners isolated from their homeland, and in the process learn with those refugees about the lands and peoples that shape their lives now. It's a lot like the way most of us only discovered Sartar reflected in foreign outposts like Pavis and up to Balazar, only coming back across the frontier for an immersion in the intricacies of clan life when the learning curve could support it. And then through Sartar we could see the Empire face to face.

Maniria. Nochet and Aeolia. Carmania. Teshnos. Baby steps. I think we have a year or two to sow some dragon teeth and narrow the gap a little, if we're smart.



 

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8 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

This is fantastic! Which game system are you using?

Mythras with some house rules/relicts of older systems (we've been playing for just over 12 years now).

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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

This is my favorite idea of the season because this exile community then opens up a corner of the East to similar development down the road.

Bear in mind that Dosakayo is an Esrolian/Nochetian colony so we've got a strong connection/trade route already (albeit interrupted once more by Wolf Pirates).

Flotilla escaping the fall of Nolos/Pasos heads east (yes, I could see some heading west, but who knows what the Luathans might do?).  This probably is in waves. 

1623, they escape fairly unscathed.  Trading connections in Handra and Nochet suggest those as targets.  But, Nochet is under siege that year.  Maybe some of these arrivals contribute to Queen Samastina holding the Lunars at bay?

1624, Harrek is back, and that's going to stir the pot.  Maybe some of these folk even join the Wolf Pirates (e.g. Mularik).  Wolf pirates start raiding in force again makes the passage east more treacherous.

1625, maybe the largest part of the diaspora.  They take the risk to try to get past Wolf Pirates.  Some get to Handra/Fay Jee, but how much welcome there?  Some get to the Choralinthor Bay.  Nochet is open again, and in rebuilding mode post-Siege - cheap labor might be well used.  And there are western nobles from Nolos/Pasos there already.  But if you figure there's dodging/fleeing Wolf Pirates, then a dispersal in multiple directions makes sense.  A few may come into Heortland, but Refuge is a good target for those eastward bound (perhaps driven into that long bay).  Then there are those who try Corflu, only to find refugees from the Grantlands.  And some go on to Dosakayo.  Subsequently, others who came to Nochet likely go to/from Dosakayo as well, those always those pesky Wolf Pirates to deal with.

 

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This is some epic stuff. While I've been aware of a significant Quinpolic exile community, their ultimate trajectory in the absence of Argrath-facing documents was never clear. Maybe let's segment the population a little more and see how that flavors where they end up.

I still lean toward an earlier Quinpolic end date (early 1624) to get it over with and accelerate the moment when players can make a difference but can be argued down if that's where MGF goes. Either way, the sack of Noloswal (late 1623) is at least the beginning of the end . . . even if the League holds another year or two, smart, connected, pragmatic people will start buying one-way tickets out as an insurance policy. These people probably have the best shot at ending up where they want, which is somewhere relatively sophisticated and comfortable: Nochet.

Unfortunately for them, timing could get tight. Miss the window and you either need to hang out in Handra through Storm Season or try an overland passage instead. The truly daring might try the Hero's Run into the far east, which opens up additional MGF opportunities for seeding hardcore Navigationalists in unlikely places, but that isn't the kind of thing that creates a robust or rooted expat community. It might be far easier to simply raise the wolf flag while the boys are in the area and head out under pirate management.

Once the land war is over, the Waertag agenda at least initially pivots and any survivors who want to escape on Dormal boats need to reckon with that. Depending on your dramatic instinct, the people who make it out by sea might be only a pathetic fraction of those who made the attempt. If not, somebody with muscle got in the dragon ships' way . . . if that's the Wolf Pirates, I suspect most of these people (even civilians) would end up absorbed into that freebooting proposition one way or another.

The poorer and less connected may actually be luckier if they take to the Manirian Road, where the Princes are at least theoretically sympathetic and Greymane is no longer a problem. Rhigos probably covets agricultural talent and everyone wants muscle to replace people lost in the recent war. The especially ambitious, useless or visionary may continue on toward Aeolia. I am really loving that future plotline, of course.

I don't know a lot about the plan for Dosakayo but maybe herself would rather push a few hundred or even a few thousand foreigners all the way out there for her own purposes. If the Malkonwal movement starts to look like it will become a problem, I can see her kicking the troublemakers down the coast . . . where of course they will MGF discover world-shaking things. 

Depending on timing, Vadelites and Fonritians may be happy to book "passengers" for the southern Risk Run or in general. We probably won't meet a lot of these people again. But we don't need a huge survivor population anyway . . . New Pavis is about 5,000 people soaking wet and it's a pretty good staging area for a Sartar liberation movement. 

A lot of plotlines weave in and out of this, including the Wolf Pirate intervention (this might be where they hook up with Mularik, either again after the Cradle escapade or for the first time) and Hunralki's weird "claim" in Pithdaros. I don't think Hunralki hangs around to annoy the regime. I love the notion that they get there just a little too late to fulfill his vision or whatever. Classic. Maybe Hunralki gets a boat back south and follows his own heroquest path down there, with or without a cadre of Pithdarans with nothing to lose but a ticket back to the motherland. Greg and Charles Saunders were friends. I want to believe.

I also want to believe Mulliam was a smart guy as well as being incredibly rich, so while hubris kills (the Elon Musk of Glorantha) I can see him having plenty of contingencies in place . . . his dad was a master chess player of course and either the apple fell close to the tree or it didn't. If the good guys aren't at least a little smart then the Rokarists win. And I really don't want them to win. So let the Hadestolids get at least some measure of smirking revenge.

So an entry-level book on the West as a kind of distributed "homeland," all these droplets of mercury rolling apart before they roll back together. To be published in heaven of course.

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5 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Bear in mind that Dosakayo is an Esrolian/Nochetian colony so we've got a strong connection/trade route already (albeit interrupted once more by Wolf Pirates).

If the refugees wish to sail into the neighborhood of Waertagi again, and not into the east, where the East Isles, Maslo and Lur Nop for Kralorela are within reach.

 

5 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Flotilla escaping the fall of Nolos/Pasos heads east (yes, I could see some heading west, but who knows what the Luathans might do?).  This probably is in waves. 

Originally,I thought escaping to the west would be it, but then I looked at how fragmented Seshnela had become, and I noticed that the Pasos islands might have an escape route directly north. A largely unknown and untested route, but that goes for their pursuers as well.

 

 

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I am obviously way, way out of my depth here, but a few thoughts:
- Given what we know of Malkionism in the current vision of Glorantha, it is largely a Zzaburi-affair, ie. more like schools of philosophy managed by professional philosophers and not mass-movements or denominations in the modern-day sense, with mass conversions and public liturgy and the like. I have some issues grokking this given the history of Malkionism in Glorantha, but I'm going to give it my best shot. 

- In this context, even if the Rokari declare Navigationalism a heresy, this practically means that they're mostly just out to kill or displace their rival Zzaburi. Obviously, this overlaps with the more overt power struggles of the states involved, as the Seshnelan realm is also using this to consolidate its power in the region and getting rid of rivals. So far, no issues. 

- However, this seems to imply that there is no real need or want to disrupt, for example, the Dronar populations. In the current vision of Malkionism in Glorantha, Dronars have effectively no input on the cult activity, and are therefore not *really* heretics? Basically, the basic assumption of heresy would perhaps work differently in Malkionism than, say Christianity or Islam. 

- Anyway, long preamble, but my end-point is basically this: would it not perhaps make sense for the exodus to largely by one of the elites (Talar, Zzaburi, Horali) and not really Dronars? This would push the expected number of exiles pretty far down, one would assume.

- I realize that this might not be such a big issue, since agricultural serfs and manual laborers probably were never going to be able to get onboard a boat anyway (excepting house servants, perhaps). On the flipside, it does mean that prominent artisans who might conceivably have the resources to buy themselves passage away might simply sit tight and wait for the new governmental superstructure (Rokari Zzaburs and Seshnelan Talars) to roll in. Business as usual once the fires die down. And of course, on the flipside of the flipside, a lot of people might just want to get away regardless, simply due to the level of devastation that a brutal siege is going to cause. But here's the kicker: they might actually be just as likely to just travel up into Tanisor. Again, if we're assuming Dronars don't really engage in the whole sectarian nature of Malkionism, and if indeed one Zzaburi is as good as another to them.

 

I honestly don't really know. 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

- Anyway, long preamble, but my end-point is basically this: would it not perhaps make sense for the exodus to largely by one of the elites (Talar, Zzaburi, Horali) and not really Dronars? This would push the expected number of exiles pretty far down, one would assume.

I love the refugee segmentation this opens up as well as the larger role this conflict plays in the larger Hero Wars. Let's start with the second part because it's the central impulse here. I am not a fan of the Rokarist system for simple reasons: they're mean, they're puritanical and they're in power. Any of these elements can contribute to Gloranthan Fun but the combination condemns about 2 million fictional characters to a life of oppression, bullying and naked fear . . . without the usual compensations like religious ecstasy or intricate local lore that make these conditions more tolerable elsewhere on the lozenge. They're a puritanical sect. They spend their effort eradicating many of the factors that differentiate Glorantha from the late modern state of alienation and anomie.

Even this is fine from a purely abstract intellectual perspective but it gets tedious in sustained play. What are we doing this week? We're getting oppressed again. When that gets boring, maybe we try being the bullies for awhile, which is rarely either a good look or emotionally sustainable for long-term exploration of Glorantha. Or we can join the resistance and guarantee at least a few years of really hard futility before the canonical timeline gives us any relief or hope at all. (See: getting oppressed.) The bullies are in power. Return to scene one, a mailed saboton smearing a butterfly for what feels like forever.

Now there are solutions. We can look behind the official narrative for a more expansive and "authentic" experience more compatible with the Gloranthan mainstream. We can choose to engineer redemptive change in play, ensuring that within this fiction right won't always lose and wrong won't always win. We can focus on the relatively sympathetic characters, rooting for them to live productive and rewarding lives. And when all else fails, we can take refuge in the catharsis of tragedy without hope of liberation or transcendence, which is not what we see in the Dragon Pass Hero Wars materials. Dooming part of the world to perpetual gloom is one thing. Building materials in the hope that people will then play out that grim dark narrative is quixotic publishing at best -- we already have Warhammer and real life for that.

So that's my moralizing speech. We're gamers. This is the world we build together over time. The world Greg discovered is not Disneyland but "life is not slavery" either. If the Rokarists don't see the error of their ways in play and fast, what's it all for? Life's too short to have the priest dictate what your character can eat for lunch. And so if we can't redeem the Rokarists for years to come in subjective game time, we can at least salvage as much of the sympathetic stuff as we can and get it away from Rokarist territory. I think this impulse drives the refugee narrative. When MGF leads, setting logic bends to accommodate.

That's literally where the fun part comes in. People want the relatively sympathetic stuff in a setting where it comes out in play. Who makes the journey from the West? Sorcerers from this part of the world are either orthodox ("are we the baddies?"), dead or in exile. Going from the old RQ3 occupation tables, there were once maybe 30,000 trained sorcerers in the League and conservatively 10,000 of them were ever any good (rule of 1% magic people). Luckily only a couple hundred are invited to Theoblanc's little fatal soiree so the rest can either die in the war or scatter. We'd want to play it out on five-mile hexes a few thousand times to get the survival numbers.

Talars in Seshnela are an interesting phenomenon BTB, with the really old families who can trace their roots back to the island being scarce to the point of being completely hypothetical. Maybe they're another 1% of the overall population so a base of 10,000 in the League before attrition sets in. From a skills perspective these are mostly jocks with fancy job titles so would make great mercenaries if they land in settled areas or warlords if they don't. (Alatan just got interesting.) Standard horals add 5X to that base.

I don't know what the mortality rate is in the Quinpolic Wars . . . the bully factor makes me think it's pretty high but Guilmarn needs fresh crusaders to make a credible play for Ralios. Maybe say that enough of these two castes switch to replace people he loses and "half" of the rest die. Horrific by Bronze Age Standards, sure. But one side has a significant sorcerous disadvantage (many of the best mages are dead) and this is a Convert Or Die scenario. Most convert rather than die. The weirder you are (hrestol etc.) the less eager you are to convert. Hit the road.

This rough math opens up maybe 12,000 deserters but actual inputs will yield different conclusions. How many die on the way out, boats torpedoed or otherwise running into complications? How many do the Wolf Pirates need in 1623-4 to make their 1625 starting numbers? How many head north to taunt Laurel & Hardy from what looks like the safe harbor of Safelster, only to get caught up in that phase? How many fan out into pagan Ralios? The rest are available for the Manirian exodus.

I would argue that we've just talked about the last meaningful survivors of heterodox high-caste Tanisorian civilization, including all of the warrior women and female sorcerers. But every Umberto Eco fan knows farmers can be heretics too. Even if the zzaburs dictate the spirituality of most (a big if), at a glance at least 6% of the dronar population is going to be initiated to some pagan god or Master, a secret caste mobilist (#occupypasos) or otherwise not the kind of person who welcomes a chat with the Rokarist inquisitors. Again, this includes nearly all of the interesting women. Witches. Shapeshifters. Heretics. 

satanism.jpg.86016745b61f0880ffdadb85977df0f6.jpgAcross roughly a million people in the pre-crusade League this might be another 55,000 people who are already unhappy with the Rokar status quo (otherwise they wouldn't seek these forest compensations) and are now highly motivated to get the hell out. A stunning 10% of the Seshnegite population in RQ3 had the "sailor" occupation. These people probably lead the exodus and while a shocking number die early on,  they're probably overrepresented in the 1625+ diaspora.

The rest scatter by land as though you were watching the great houses of Sartar scurry after the fall of Boldhome. Those who go north get pulled into that war one way or another out of sight from Dragon Pass. Those who accept the southern passage are a big but probably sad question mark. Those who survive the journey to the east are the ones we meet, each telling a tale of woe and dreaming about vengeance before the end of the world.

Edited by scott-martin
checking a number, long day
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21 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Even this is fine from a purely abstract intellectual perspective but it gets tedious in sustained play. What are we doing this week? We're getting oppressed again. When that gets boring, maybe we try being the bullies for awhile

Come see the violence inherent in the system!...  Funny how this parallels the Kingdom of War and its march against Fronela!  A new "evil empire" arises, but in this instance it claims to be for "rightness".  Is Seshnela a reflection of the Kingdom of War, or the Kingdom of War a reflection of Seshnela?

25 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I am not a fan of the Rokarist system for simple reasons: they're mean, they're puritanical and they're in power.

So we ask, why the Rokari focus on "rightness"?  Was/is the land filled with "wrongness"?  And what would that mean?  Broad or growing worship of pagans (demonic gods, Arkat, vile spirits,...)?  Millennial, end-of-the-world mystery cults?  Those are certainly possibilities.

Or the lack of "rightness" has reduced the power and influence of the talars and/or zzaburi?  They don't live as long, more prone to disease, the magics and spells are weaker or more easily broken.  So, the Seshnelan king hammers out a new plan, and finds the zzaburi to support him.  And "rightness" grows (power munchkin gamers at work!).  But, yes, at the end of the day, they are the bullies and hold power.  And have enough power-minded followers that see opportunities for conquest to continue growing.  But Guilmarn needs to keep them focused outward, keep focus on the expansion because otherwise they might look inward.  The zzaburi point the way - go crusade against the demons and you shall be rewarded (either in this world or the next). 

37 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Dooming part of the world to perpetual gloom is one thing. Building materials in the hope that people will then play out that grim dark narrative is quixotic publishing at best -- we already have Warhammer and real life for that.

And we already have the Kingdom of War providing gloom in the north, and with the Fronelan War against War likely to make it even gloomier.  So what happens in Seshnela and Safelster so that we're not all running away to the east?  Or becoming the next Robin Hood and his Merry men against the new Sheriff from Seshnela?  (The latter is certainly one campaign option, but we want more than just one.)

What are these pagan deities and millennial and mystery cults telling us?  Where are they appearing?  Is it just Ralios?  Or is Seshna Likita stirring up some brew that changes the landscape?  What does elf reforestation do?  And where is Eurmal - got to get him back on the hanging tree again in time for the next LBQ to come along.  What's the backlash against "rightness", or what does it release?  Do the power-hungry pull on old threads?  Lost secrets of the God Learners secretly released by Tricksters, Riddlers, and those smiling Vadeli who are suddenly back among us?  The lure of immortality offered by the old Vampire Kings? 

This seems to need more thought and exploration.  And perhaps there are paths through the Kanthor Isles or the Castle Coast that we've not yet touched upon?

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

So we ask, why the Rokari focus on "rightness"?  Was/is the land filled with "wrongness"?  And what would that mean?  Broad or growing worship of pagans (demonic gods, Arkat, vile spirits,...)?  Millennial, end-of-the-world mystery cults?  Those are certainly possibilities.

Swapping my MGF hat for the canon hat for a minute, I always favored the line in the Guide: "secretive wizards who live in constant fear of the return of God Learnerism." The imperial collapse really scared them, with good reason. When they rebuilt it was by rejecting everything they saw as innovative Since Time, throwing away two out of three chapters in the Abiding Book and doing their damnedest to reconstruct what they see as original caste performance. Everything else is wrongness. No more empire. No more history.

But the persistence of wrongness is, not coincidentally, MGF. Players want ruckus and adventure, trouble and desire. Probably they tried everything under the sun in Tanisor between the days when the oceans drank old Frowal and the rise of the sons of Bailifes. Then Rokar did his best to cast out all the devils . . . but we know a Hero War is when rejected knowledge comes back refreshed. 

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

what happens in Seshnela and Safelster so that we're not all running away to the east? 

I think Seshnela is a tricky MGF sell until Guilmarn bites off more than he can chew in Safelster. In a Pendragon style generational epic those first few "episodes" help set the scene but can be modeled just as easily in Family History so we can end the futility and get on with the adventures that mean something. Otherwise we're just meeting people who fail or at best leave us behind in the shit. Gamers being relatively simple creatures, the shorter we can make that failure phase at the beginning the more likely we are to hook them for the long haul.

Do various regional Hero Wars have different start dates? Maybe Seshnela doesn't open up to RQG until 1626-7 or whenever Arkat Returns. That isn't stopping anyone from an in-depth HQ/HW/QW exploration of the tribulations around the war. As we learned in Dragon Pass, the 1621-4 prequel trilogy is the father of the 1625+ future. That's probably where we meet the people who ultimately fail or flee.

"The Enchanted Forest of Kanthor" campaign is yet another option although those guys are kind of isolated. 

Edited by scott-martin
stray period, long week
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16 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Swapping my MGF hat for the canon hat for a minute, I always favored the line in the Guide: "secretive wizards who live in constant fear of the return of God Learnerism." The imperial collapse really scared them, with good reason. When they rebuilt it was by rejecting everything they saw as innovative Since Time, throwing away two out of three chapters in the Abiding Book and doing their damnedest to reconstruct what they see as original caste performance. Everything else is wrongness. No more empire. No more history.

Of course, this implies that Stan and Ollie, I mean Theoblanc and Guilmarn, would be at odds, because what is extending their reach into Ralios but the resurrection of empire, the treading on those first few steps of Godlearnerism? Granted, this probably only produces heretics within the dull sway of Rokarism. What we need are (given Rokarism's superficial sensuality) Barbarellas, who can be drawn out "into the wild" and encounter angels or Great Tyrants calling them "pretty pretty" who can shake their mind up and open them up to that three-way Arkat gate.

So the big roadblock here is, "What event can we use to shake up Seshnela proper the way the Dragonrise opens up Sartar and Prax and Kethaela as "safe ground", and the way that Sword Hill seems likely to open up the Provinces and Heartlands as adventurous territory, and the way that 'Five Arkats Return! The greatest hero in history returns in five forms, fighting himself and everyone else!' is definitely meant to kick Ralios into adventuring overdrive?" Maybe we push the Age of Arkatarius around until it synchronizes with a general weakening of Father Laurel and King Hardy's authority or concordance, such that Arkat's return opens up large gaps within the evil empire?

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2 minutes ago, Eff said:

Stan and Ollie, I mean Theoblanc and Guilmarn, would be at odds

Badass. I mean "love."

"Now look what you made me do." Church Versus State probably provides a reasonably engaging monkey wrench for a couple of crucial years. Whoever loses, we win.

There's that tradition of the Bailifids coming into Safelster (1458-1511) and squandering it all on chivalric potlatch . . . secrets of the Tournament Kings. Maybe our boy yearns to compete. Maybe there's a prophecy an Arkat does too.

Decrucify the angel or I'll melt your face.

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Way back when I'd had Kingdom of War ended by massive sorcery in a final decisive battle. When the armies of Loskalm marched into their old territory they'd found nothing but elves, elves and more elves. Rather than become another Kingdom of War (a tired trope that I hope disappeared with the medieval stuff) they'd say this could totally work for us and go home. A buffer of a new elf forest that spans the Janube and swallows most of the land that sent mercenaries against them would seem like a blessing. Coming out of isolation isn't for everybody. 

I'd change almost nothing knowing what I know now. Except I'd have whatever godlearner bomb the Loskami drop on their enemies, that makes the living envy the dead, happen in Earth season, 1625. 

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...I don't suppose anyone would mind doing a TLDR? I feel like I really like this thread, but I can't say for certain until my brain manages to decode the arcane script y'all are speaking.

Edited by Richard S.
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7 hours ago, Richard S. said:

...I don't suppose anyone would mind doing a TLDR? I feel like I really like this thread, but I can't say for certain until my brain manages to decode the arcane script y'all are speaking.

To decode/tl;dr my posts, one of the primary questions is "How do we make the Malkioni parts of Glorantha playable within the assumptions of Runequest Glorantha?"- with the implicit assumptions being that player characters are heroic figures who start out with local concerns and are quickly catapulted into contact with the bigger events of the Hero Wars but aren't forced to participate in them, that their stomping grounds are safe for adventuring, and that there's some Hero Wars events they can play a key part in.

So my posts here have been speculating about all of these things, firstly by offering Maniria as a kind of "starting zone" for PCs to come from, where you can adventure into Seshnela like you might venture into Lunar Tarsh or the Heartlands in a game set in current-RQG time as Sartarite PCs, with some thoughts about how Maniria can interact with what we know and can reasonably speculate will be happening in the West's Hero Wars, and then secondly by contemplating how to make Seshnela a playable point of origin.

A big part of that has involved referencing other media- Maniria is postapocalyptic, there's a giant forest coming that will be hostile to human life unless you bend to its demands, my brain thinks, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" and then pulls in some more Studio Ghibli material, so Manirian adventures can be concerned with Ghibli's concerns about synthesis between the green world and the iron world. Seshnela is occupied by an oppressive interpretation of religion that is specifically welcoming of sensuality in the way most such RW religions are not, and we need a way for Rokari-raised PCs to get out of the Rokarism mindset, so my brain leaps to Barbarella, where sex is casual but devoid of physical contact or emotional intimacy, and the protagonist is forced into confrontation with being desired and actively desiring, with the supernatural in a supposedly materialistic setting, and with confronting limits she had never really explored before. This seems potent as a model for how Rokari PCs become playable, and how Seshnela learns to really let its hair down. Once you sublimate the sex farce parts.

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8 hours ago, Richard S. said:

...I don't suppose anyone would mind doing a TLDR? I feel like I really like this thread, but I can't say for certain until my brain manages to decode the arcane script y'all are speaking.

Seshnela is currently under a crusading king supported by an oppressive "rightness"-minded Western religion (i.e. Rokarism).  Brutal nobles, inquisitorial wizards, oppressed peasants, and expanding their conquests outward.  Where's the opportunity to make Seshnela playable?  Or how do we keep each scenario from being yet another "we're oppressed, save us" adventure?

So far:

  • diaspora from the conquered lands (eastward and interaction with our well-known world; or west/north into more mysterious opportunities)
  • places on the edge (e.g. Maniria, Safelster/Ralios before the boot heel lands)
  • hidden facets under the surface of "rightness", but what are they? Millennial/mystery cults? Vampires at work? Witches in the forests?
  • what can the Five Arkats or the Serpent Kings do to shake this up?  Or how do we best leverage those?

And probably a few other strands I've forgotten.  And more that we're trying to tease out and explore.

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