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? Re: 1607 ST Prax raid on Balazar


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Okay, getting a bit into the weeds here...

I’m collating a comprehensive historical timeline for Balazar and the Elder Wilds, and note that in Wyrm’s Footnotes #15, p. 53 there is a table showing Army Activity by Homeland.  It shows four raids into Balazar over the period 1602 to 1625 ST.  Three are from the Stinkwood Forest, obviously Tusker Raiders looking for the 3 S: Slaves, Sacrifices and Succulents.  My default assumption is that they travel to the Tarsh gap before turning north at Travelling Stone to go looking for goodies.  This leads to my scenario write-up where a warband heads over the Wyrm’s High Pass into High Wood, raiding from the Dykene king’s home clan and setting events in motion to stop this nefarious trade in Balazaring slaves!

The one from Prax has me a bit confused.  It’s not real easy to get from Prax to Balazar.  There are three routes that come to mind:

1) Gonn Orta’s castle is a route into the Elder Wilds not too far from Balazar.  Can’t imagine Gonn Orta being real pleased about a Praxian warband trooping through his castle with their mounts pooping everywhere.  Seems like a long trip for not much reward.

2) The aforementioned Wyrm’s High Pass, but I’m pretty sure from Prax you have to go through Troll territory, meaning any Praxian warband would likely end up as Troll victuals...  (Bison meat is pretty tasty)

3) Through Sartar to the Tarsh gap.  Again, seems like a long trek for not much reward.

So does anyone out there in Gloranthaland know anything about this particular raid in 1607 ST?  Just a bunch of morokanths looking to replenish their herdmen?  Was there a big project needing the sacrifice of Balazaring blood and lives?  Did they just need a bunch of sacrifices for some big magic event?

I’ll probably just make something up, but wanted to check with the cognoscenti first.

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Considering the Praxians activity for the following years is:

  • 1608 - Aggar Garrison
  • 1609 - Dorastor Raid
  • 1610 - Aggar Raid
  • 1611 - Home Civil.

It seems to me that the army that raided into Balazar in 1607, then march to Aggar for a raid on Dorastor.  The mysterious Seven Problems from Dorastor took place in 1608, one of which was Wowander's infamous Stag Do.  So my feeling is that someone placed an order for Praxian mercenaries who raided Balazar on their way to Aggar and Dorastor.  But the money ran out and so they plundered Aggar before making their way home.

With this in mind, I don't think the Tarsh Gap is plausible.  If they are in Tarsh marching to Aggar, then a detour to Balazar for Wild Bunch Hijinks does not make sense.  Likewise Gonn Orta's pass kinda rules itself out for being a bit too far of the beaten track.  That leaves in my mind Wyrm's High Pass, which requires as you note a good reason for the Trolls to allow Praxians to pass through.  The Trolls do have some friendly relations with the Praxians which makes this somewhat possible (Trade at Adari for Mushroom Drinks, Storm Bull and Zorak Zoran being friendly, Trolls hiring Storm Bulls for a raid on the Muchrooms Trollpak p209, the Bestiary indicates Morokanth are found in and around Dagori Inkarth p14 for example).

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/23/2021 at 6:22 PM, metcalph said:

It seems to me that the army that raided into Balazar in 1607, then march to Aggar for a raid on Dorastor.  The mysterious Seven Problems from Dorastor took place in 1608, one of which was Wowander's infamous Stag Do.  So my feeling is that someone placed an order for Praxian mercenaries who raided Balazar on their way to Aggar and Dorastor.  But the money ran out and so they plundered Aggar before making their way home.

With this in mind, I don't think the Tarsh Gap is plausible.  If they are in Tarsh marching to Aggar, then a detour to Balazar for Wild Bunch Hijinks does not make sense.  Likewise Gonn Orta's pass kinda rules itself out for being a bit too far of the beaten track.  That leaves in my mind Wyrm's High Pass, which requires as you note a good reason for the Trolls to allow Praxians to pass through.  The Trolls do have some friendly relations with the Praxians which makes this somewhat possible (Trade at Adari for Mushroom Drinks, Storm Bull and Zorak Zoran being friendly, Trolls hiring Storm Bulls for a raid on the Muchrooms Trollpak p209, the Bestiary indicates Morokanth are found in and around Dagori Inkarth p14 for example).

I completely concur.  You might be able to "gift" Gonn Orta to let you pass his castle, but neither party is likely to be happy with this arrangement, as raiders don't like parting with money, and the whole point of having a castle is to keep raiders out.  I also cannot see a Lunar Empire that has just conquered Sartar being happy with an army of Stormbulls making for the Tarsh Gap.  It is remotely possible that the raiders could swing north around the Redlands or take an alternative hidden pass near the Hidden Greens, but that would be news to everyone.  Wyrm's High Pass is the best route for Praxians, and they will likely stop off at Cliffhome to get drunk on horrible troll booze to raise their courage for the awful snowy journey ahead. 

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The more I look into it, the more the idea of a Morokanth raid into Balazar for potential herd-men seems to fit the facts at hand.  Morokanth have a natural affinity with the Darkness rune, making them a bit more palatable (in the non-cuisine sense) to the trolls of Dagori Inkarth.  Raiding Balazar for slaves seems to be a well-established practice for just about everyone, why shouldn’t the Praxians get in on the fun?  Human bodies are basically the only thing of value in Balazar.  What are the Sable Riders going to go raiding for?  Furs?  Hoards of stone tools?  Clay pots?  Fancy breechcloths?

The issue, though, is getting the captured slaves back to Prax.  I envision Wyrm’s High Pass as more akin to the scenes in the movie Pathfinder (the original is better, but hard to get) than to a steep saddle pass between two mountains.  Cliffs with narrow ledges.  Precarious switchbacks and buffeting winds.  Giants rough-housing as in the movie The Hobbit, part I of too many.  Coupled with the tolls you’re paying to the trolls for passage to and from the Pass and you’re going to need to capture a whole ton of bodies for the trip to be worthwhile.

Then again, a recent rewatching of the early parts of Roots reminded me of the cold calculus that is the slave trade: expected losses are built into the equations.  It’s not too terribly difficult an exercise to imagine Kunta Kinte as a Balazaring hunter just living his life, enjoying his passage into manhood, and then some jackass comes along and decides “Hey, you belong to me!” and boom, you’re off to Prax or Glamour or the Holy Country for a life of misery.

Another issue, though, is that the Wyrm’s High Pass dumps into the depths of High Wood, which is Aldryami territory, specifically Brown Elf.  So deciduous woods, mostly conifers, probably want to do your raid when they’re sleeping.  Other than hunters, you’re unlikely to see much human activity until you get to the other side of the bald hill, up near the Oldtree clan hearth and the Bilini River.

However, a crippling raid on Dykene’s clans would be good incentive for Skilfil to train a cadre of Giant Hawks to use for reconnaissance and communications.  Yeah, I think I’m going to go with that.

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1 hour ago, GMKen said:

What are the Sable Riders going to go raiding for?

The fabled Moon Stones that fell from the sky either when the Red Moon rose or the Blue Moon fell down.  Or, they are on a quest to meet their distant kin on the Hungry Plateau and wish to fulfill some Twin Stars quest in the region. 

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I’m not sure that Balazarings are especially known for their secret caches of Moon Stones.  Or raid-worthy hoards of them, for that matter. Nor that Twinstars are particularly associated with the Elder Wilds.  I did dig up a copy of the “Lair of the White Wyrm” scenario, though, and that does give me a nice plausible explanation - the Morokanths were also looking for their sacred scroll that the White Wyrm had stolen before it got captured and imprisoned by Dragonewts.

”Oh, you want your cousin back?  We want our scroll back.  What sort of arrangement do you think we can come to?”

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17 hours ago, GMKen said:

Raiding Balazar for slaves seems to be a well-established practice for just about everyone, why shouldn’t the Praxians get in on the fun?  Human bodies are basically the only thing of value in Balazar.  What are the Sable Riders going to go raiding for?  Furs?  Hoards of stone tools?  Clay pots?  Fancy breechcloths?

Magics. Stuff to bind spirits into, ideally with spirits bound into them ready to carry away. Clan treasures. Stuff raided from Saird, or dropped by those slave-takers successfully ambushed. Stuff lost on previous raids.

Dwarven merchandise. Greatway trades with the Balazarings, but not with Dragon Pass.

Elf stuff. Wood is scarce in Prax. Magicked wood is even rarer.

Rare trophies, to be sacrificed/proudly displayed at the various altars all over Prax. Sabertooth or lion skins, teeth etc. for some impressive jewelry.

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