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Sun Dome temples and the wars in Dragon Pass


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Hello everyone.

I'm interested in knowing what were the attitudes of the Sun Dome temples in the Lunar Empire and Sartar in the battles between the two. Are they neutral? Do they participate only as mercenaries? Or can they go as part of the regular army?

I'm asking because I have started recently a campaign as DM, and we are at Sea Season 1626. One of the characters in a Yelmalian, with a yet-to-be-defined relation with the Sun Dome temple in Sartar. With the Battle of the Queens in the horizon, it could be an interesting thread to explore.

 

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In the oldest source on the Sun Dome Temples, the boardgame White Bear and Red Moon (later re-published as Dragon Pass), the Sun Domers of Sun Dome County were a neutral faction of mercenaries that could be bid for by either side - IIRC by sending emissaries, but possibly by spending diplomacy points.

The troops from the Goldedge temple were completely integrated into the Native Furthest Corps. (But then we didn't know at the time that there was a Sun Dome Temple there...)

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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The official policy of the Sun Dome Temples is strict neutrality. They will hire out mercenaries to whoever can pay their scriptural hiring fees, in gold.

In practice, the old Count of the Dragon Pass Sun Dome was mates with Fazzur Wideread, and so his best troops were likely to be "already subject to a retainer" or "unavoidably detained for ritual purposes" if a Sartarite employer came along. Once Argrath replaces him with our best mate Rurik Runespear, the sandal is on the other foot, and potential Lunar employment offers will be met with "sorry, but we will all be washing our hair for cultic reasons on your proposed battle date."

Mercenaries will march with the rest of their employer's army if that's what they've been hired to do. That applies to the South Pelorian Sun Dome Temples as much as to the ones in Sartar and Prax.

I had a small note about why the Sun Dome Temple didn't send mercenaries to fight on Kallyr's side at the Battle of Queens in The Duel at Dangerford, which is completely non-canonical (of course) but you might like my reasoning.

There is much more (of course) in Martin Helsdon's magisterial Armies & Enemies of Dragon Pass.

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In a game we played in the late 80's and early 90's the Sun County got involved in a Civil War between the various pro and anti Lunar factions. The end result that their military was mostly destroyed, but the anti Lunar faction won and there were representatives during the liberation of Pavis.

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5 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

The official policy of the Sun Dome Temples is strict neutrality. They will hire out mercenaries to whoever can pay their scriptural hiring fees, in gold.

In practice, the old Count of the Dragon Pass Sun Dome was mates with Fazzur Wideread, and so his best troops were likely to be "already subject to a retainer" or "unavoidably detained for ritual purposes" if a Sartarite employer came along. Once Argrath replaces him with our best mate Rurik Runespear, the sandal is on the other foot, and potential Lunar employment offers will be met with "sorry, but we will all be washing our hair for cultic reasons on your proposed battle date."

Mercenaries will march with the rest of their employer's army if that's what they've been hired to do. That applies to the South Pelorian Sun Dome Temples as much as to the ones in Sartar and Prax.

I had a small note about why the Sun Dome Temple didn't send mercenaries to fight on Kallyr's side at the Battle of Queens in The Duel at Dangerford, which is completely non-canonical (of course) but you might like my reasoning.

There is much more (of course) in Martin Helsdon's magisterial Armies & Enemies of Dragon Pass.

This is pretty much spot on. As aside, Count Serternas is not only a personal friend of Fazzur Widread, but managed to maintain cordial relations with the surrounding Orlanthi tribes. His decision to aid his friend in the conquest of Heartland in exchange for a large payment of gold was "purely professional." I view him as far shrewder than his Praxian counterparts. 

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On 6/3/2021 at 5:47 AM, Jeff said:

This is pretty much spot on. As aside, Count Serternas is not only a personal friend of Fazzur Widread, but managed to maintain cordial relations with the surrounding Orlanthi tribes. His decision to aid his friend in the conquest of Heartland in exchange for a large payment of gold was "purely professional." I view him as far shrewder than his Praxian counterparts. 

While the current (1627) politico-religious instability in Sun County, Prax is indeed highly regrettable, up until now the Sun Domers there have always managed to not be on the losing side, ever since leaving the Pure Horse People in the lurch at Alavan Argay in 1250*.

Likewise, they prudently lined up with the Lunars at First Battle of Moonbroth in 1610 – and so got to tenaciously hang on to their independence during the Lunar domination of Prax.

But then, come Second Moonbroth fifteen years later, and they adroitly and unexpectedly switched sides again, quite literally at the last moment. (I can picture the Sun Dome Templars all dutifully lining up in a shield wall with the Lunars, then suddenly opening a gap for the White Bull's nomad hordes and passively standing by as the rout and massacre of their former allies ensues.)

The reigning Count was (curiously enough) the only Sun Dome casualty at Moonbroth II, and unfortunately two rival claimants emerged to succeed him.

King Argrath formally recognises one of them, but after being driven out of his rival power base at the Old Sun Dome, "Count" Belvani finds himself stuck in impotent exile in Suntown, New Pavis, lacking funds and men.

The other claimant, Lady Vega, is firmly ensconced at the Great Sun Dome, and has carefully taken pains to not provoke the new regime in Pavis upriver.

I suspect the Yelmalio hero Rurik Runespear, one of Argrath's Companions, will be the figure who eventually brokers a lasting compromise and peace in Sun County, Prax – probably involving further revelations of the Many Suns. Fortunately for Countess Vega's rule of Sun County, Argrath White Bull himself has far, far bigger fish to fry in Dragon Pass and beyond to care much about that insignificant and strategically unimportant backwater.

*as @Nick Brookenotes, they would have cited important cultic obligations/hairdressers appointment for their absence on the day.

Edited by MOB
Changed from saying " the Sun Domers there have always managed to be on the winning side" to "not be on the losing side".
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In 1250, the Zola Fel estuary was settled by Teshnans following their hero Selenteen in his attempt to locate the Red Sword of Tolat (in whichever generation of a copy). These new Solar worshipers possibly shifted the magical balance even further away from the Pure Horse People who had already taken the brunt of the troll invasion. And, IIRC, it was an impala hero who led the nomads, possibly a Yelmalian.

Rather than hairdressers, the Sun Domers might have undergone their crisis of wardrobe at that time, with saris replacing their previous gear.

The Praxian Sun Domer presence at Moonbroth 1610 surprises me - it is a long march around the Dead Place in templar sandals (if wearing any footwear at all). There is the Long Dry to evade, too. Dragon Pass Sun Domers have the easier approach.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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13 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Praxian Sun Domer presence at Moonbroth 1610 surprises me - it is a long march around the Dead Place in templar sandals (if wearing any footwear at all). There is the Long Dry to evade, too. Dragon Pass Sun Domers have the easier approach.

The Lunars had played a long diplomatic game to get Varthanis II on-side before their second venture into Prax; this explains Lord Belvani's stint as the unofficial Sun County ambassador to the Lunar Empire ("a meeting of the great powers," as he alone styled it).

Unfortunately the shrewd political calculations of Varthanis' rivals, led by Solanthos Ironpike and in league with a starry-eyed and -browed Sartarite rebel faction, stymied the intended hieros gamos endgame of the Red Goddess's temple, as detailed in Tales of the Sun County Militia.

Hobnailed military sandals are mandatory: the Templars have standards to maintain!

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14 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Hobnailed military sandals are mandatory: the Templars have standards to maintain!

Except for those "wear no armor on" geases...

There have been plenty illustrations showing armored professional mercenaries barefoot, including the male on the cover of River of Cradles. A similar lack of durable footwear rules in the Sartarite illustrations leaked by Jeff on Facebook.

Did they come there with a cover of sable cavalry?

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I have one question regarding Suun Dome Templar mercenaries: 

After 1628 it is more than likely that the Sartarite Sun Dome Temoplars will fight on Argraths side, but the Sun Dome Templars of the Lunar Provinces will very likely fight on the Lunar/Tarshite side. 

What will Sun Domers do if they meet other Sun Domers fighting for the enemy on the battlefield?
Fight each other, because that is what they get paid for?
Avoid each other and fight "real" Sartaites/Tarshites instead?
Something else?

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8 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

What will Sun Domers do if they meet other Sun Domers fighting for the enemy on the battlefield?
Fight each other, because that is what they get paid for?
Avoid each other and fight "real" Sartaites/Tarshites instead?
Something else?

Mumble about an appointment with hairdressers.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Except for those "wear no armor on" geases...

As long as the hob-nailed sandals are "under" the foot and do not technically "protect" or "armor" the leg/foot, they should be fine.  And for a templar with an exceptionally rare "Never set foot upon the Earth" geas, they will be all set.

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5 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

What will Sun Domers do if they meet other Sun Domers fighting for the enemy on the battlefield?

That is why Agimori do not hire out as mercenaries, in case they meet each other on the battlefield, as Agimori are forbidden to fight other Agimori.

Of course, those short-piked Yelmalians don't have such restrictions, so they hire out to anyone.

5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:
5 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

Something else?

Just push shields for a bit and hope no-one gets hurt?

Yep, that's what I'd say.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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"BLACK GOLD"

Despite centuries of separation, the Sun Dome Templars of Prax share many enduring cultural values and practices with their distant Yelmalion kin in Dragon Pass and beyond. One interesting variation is food.

As is well-known, Templars on campaign in the wider Yelmalian world subsist on their famous 'black pudding' – actually a large type of sausage. From Sartar to Saird, Yelmalio mercenaries on the march may be seen with these hearty black sausages dangling from their belts.

But when Arinsor first marched his Templars across the Long Dry, the searing heat caused their blood sausages to dry and shrink. By the time the regiment reached Pavis all that remained inside the shriveled casings was a pungent black ooze. Adapting to the arid conditions of their new home, the Yelmalions settling Sun County embraced this concentrated paste as their new special food*.

Known as "black gold", the thick, viscous paste is unknown anywhere else.

Whereas it's common knowledge Yelmalio black pudding is made of groats soaked in animal blood (typically mutton or goat), and with only vinegar and salt for flavour, the recipe for black gold is a closely-held cult secret.

With an arresting, almost sulphurous odour, black gold has a strong, bitter taste laconically described as "as dark as Hell". It is typically served on dry bread or barley cakes. Black pudding is more versatile; it is usually sliced and fried, or put into a soup, but can also be eaten raw in the hand while on the road.

While black pudding is nourishing, its flavour is strong but unsophisticated. Black gold on the other hand is very much an acquired taste. On meeting fellow Yelmalions from Vaantar in early 1625, Sun Domers serving under Daystar were told the boisterous tale of how a detachment had been captured and disarmed by the Lunars, only to bludgeon their way to safety using their black puddings as weapons. The Praxian Sun Domers just laughed – "All we'd have to do is get those soft Imperials to try black gold and they'd all run screaming", they said.

(*Or so it is told. This explanation may be nothing more than an aetiological fable, recounted by the Praxian Sun Domers to culturally connect with their distant Yelmalio kin. It is telling that a curious Irripi Ontor sage acquired a sample of black gold in Furthest, and their magical analysis found the paste to be of vegetable origin, with no blood or other animal parts. "If black gold is a treasure, it's a treasure no one wants", summarised the sage, while gagging and looking for a bucket.)

-- As always YGMV... --

141777323_ScreenShot2021-06-05at7_23_42pm.png.9702283750e4a78863e836d44c404ecc.png

[I posted this over on the RuneQuest Facebook group; posting here too, for ease of future retrieval]  

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On 6/2/2021 at 7:42 AM, Marko_d3 said:

Hello everyone.

I'm interested in knowing what were the attitudes of the Sun Dome temples in the Lunar Empire and Sartar in the battles between the two. Are they neutral? Do they participate only as mercenaries? Or can they go as part of the regular army?

I'm asking because I have started recently a campaign as DM, and we are at Sea Season 1626. One of the characters in a Yelmalian, with a yet-to-be-defined relation with the Sun Dome temple in Sartar. With the Battle of the Queens in the horizon, it could be an interesting thread to explore.

 

Some of the Sun Dome Temples have long-standing agreements with local rulers - for example, the Goldedge Temple is sworn to provide soldiers for Furthest. Others, like THE Sun Dome Temple of Dragon Pass or Sun County in Prax, maintain complete autonomy and hire out as mercenaries to whoever they chose. Obviously, if the ruler in Boldhome is rich and powerful (and reasonably friendly), it is stupid to hire out to his enemies. 

All other things even (payment, likelihood of success, friendliness, etc.), if forced to choose between offers from Sartar and the Lunar Empire. the Sun Dome Temple in Dragon Pass traditionally goes with Boldhome instead of Furthest or Glamour. Yelmalio and Orlanth are neutral; Yelmalio is hostile to the Red Goddess. But of course, if the Lunars look like they will win, offer more money, and use the Provincial Government as their go-between, the Sun Dome Temple will cheerfully sell their services to Furthest.

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On 6/3/2021 at 11:35 PM, jajagappa said:

As long as the hob-nailed sandals are "under" the foot and do not technically "protect" or "armor" the leg/foot, they should be fine.  And for a templar with an exceptionally rare "Never set foot upon the Earth" geas, they will be all set.

However, the sole (intended) original purpose of footwear *is* protection! From stones, hot sand, hair clippings...

 

(Fashion statements came later)

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On 6/3/2021 at 7:29 PM, Joerg said:

The Praxian Sun Domer presence at Moonbroth 1610 surprises me - it is a long march around the Dead Place in templar sandals (if wearing any footwear at all). There is the Long Dry to evade, too. 

Whether they were barefoot or not, I think the Templars just marched up the road from Sun County to Pavis, and then took the Sartar road across to Moonbroth. 

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