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Notes on the Lunar Empire


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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Except that it isn't a continuous period.  If you allow every nation to 'fill in the gaps' then there are actually many nations that could make such a claim in the present RW.

Your latter point is entirely correct, of course, but I was commenting on Dara Happan identity, rather than Lunar.  Particularly since the Celestial Empire, I think that Lunar identity is mediated almost entirely through the temples.  The arch and arrogant Dara Happans aren't going to impress the peoples of the west of the Empire, particularly since they share in a heritage of the Spolite Darkness which opposed - and broke - it.

The Greeks maintained a group identity for 2000 years of rule by others.  It's plausible the Dara Happans could maintain their identity, especially since their identity has magical powers tied to it.

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9 minutes ago, John Biles said:

The Greeks maintained a group identity for 2000 years of rule by others.  It's plausible the Dara Happans could maintain their identity, especially since their identity has magical powers tied to it.

Entirely plausible - but not inevitable, given the Lunar murder of their Emperor, suppression of his heirs, crushing of all resistance and subversion of their religion.  It is the latter, I believe, that is their great weak point, given that it is based on a constructed religious history 'found in Alkoth' by Yelmgatha, and having a bare 15 years to bed down before the Lunar appropriation.

It is worth noting that in the RW there were cultures who produced new doctrinal documents and declared that they had been 'found in the temple' to give them authenticity and stature.  (Deuteronomy is perhaps the best known in the modern era.)  Yelmgatha attempts this with GRoY, but I doubt it had time to take wide effect before his death.

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Entirely plausible - but not inevitable, given the Lunar murder of their Emperor, suppression of his heirs, crushing of all resistance and subversion of their religion. 

What do you mean?

The Red Emperor is the Dara Happan Emperor, the legitimate Emperor, Yelm's face on the world.

Or, maybe you meant the Carmanians?

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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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2 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

I trust you are being sarcastic, no?

The last Yelmic emperor cuddled up to the Lunars and the Red Emperor took over when he died; every incarnation of the RE passes the 1en tests, making him officially Yelm's chosen Emperor.

So the Red Emperor is legitimately Emperor of Dara Happa by its own rules.

 

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3 hours ago, John Biles said:

The last Yelmic emperor cuddled up to the Lunars and the Red Emperor took over when he died; every incarnation of the RE passes the 1en tests, making him officially Yelm's chosen Emperor.

So the Red Emperor is legitimately Emperor of Dara Happa by its own rules.

 

Or, in the world of Realpolitik,

The Red Emperor cuddled up to the resurgent Dara Happan Emperor and happened to be on hand when he died magically during a 'failed ritual'.  every incarnation passes the tests indeed, just as every Emperor is a Mask, and the Darjiini misnumber the Emperors, and the Emperors not infrequently have contradictory policies yet are the same.

I don't believe a word of it.

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35 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Or, in the world of Realpolitik,

The Red Emperor cuddled up to the resurgent Dara Happan Emperor and happened to be on hand when he died magically during a 'failed ritual'.  every incarnation passes the tests indeed, just as every Emperor is a Mask, and the Darjiini misnumber the Emperors, and the Emperors not infrequently have contradictory policies yet are the same.

I don't believe a word of it.

Of course he did, but the rules don't care.

Pass the tests, you are the legitimate Emperor, even if you barbequed and ate the former Emperor, you dress yourself entirely in dirt, and you like to dress up Yelm statues as Orlanth.

This has always been a problem for Dara Happa because lots of people have found ways to pass the tests without being very good Yelmites.

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15 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Or, in the world of Realpolitik,

The Red Emperor cuddled up to the resurgent Dara Happan Emperor and happened to be on hand when he died magically during a 'failed ritual'.  every incarnation passes the tests indeed, just as every Emperor is a Mask, and the Darjiini misnumber the Emperors, and the Emperors not infrequently have contradictory policies yet are the same.

I don't believe a word of it.

You should. Your take on this would have some validity back in the First Wane, when many Yelmites feared that the Red Emperor had used Lunar trickery to be acclaimed as Yelm's incarnation in the world. Back then the Tripolis was bound by treaty oath, but was NOT a portion of the Lunar Empire(!) - and the god Alkoth had never sworn to a treaty with the Goddess. Think the Kingdom of Hungary under the later Habsburg dynasty. The Red Goddess used trickery, strange magic, and illusion to achieve many victories over the Carmanians, and the Yelmites understandably feared that their new emperor was less a Solar Emperor than a Lunar Emperor. And so they rebelled, allied with barbarians, but were ultimately defeated. The barbarians made their way into the gates of Glamour but were defeated when the Lunars revealed more secret magic. Then followed another ten years of sieges under Dara Happa was conquered. By 1285 the city of Alkoth surrendered, and their god was humbled before the Goddess, and accepted the pantheon.

So that is 340 years ago. Since then Dara Happa has been incorporated into the Lunar Empire, the gods and goddesses of Dara Happa are accepted the pantheon and so on. When Sheng Seleris invaded, some Dara Happans threw themselves in with the Pentans and became Dara Happa On Horse, but when the Pentans were expelled from Peloria, they were exterminated. Hon-eel married Yelm. The Red Emperors have firmly established their connection and control over the Pelorian Yelm cult (especially since the alternative is Sheng Seleris). 

So again, it is just as easy to say that in the centuries after its conquest in 1285, Dara Happa managed to capture the Lunar Empire. Certainly many in the White Moon Movement would say just that, with the Red Goddess fighting wars in distant Dragon Pass and sacrificing thousands to fight the Storm God rather than bring forth the White Moon Era.

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21 minutes ago, John Biles said:

This has always been a problem for Dara Happa because lots of people have found ways to pass the tests without being very good Yelmites.

Exactly.  The idea that there is a worthy Emperor is a pious fiction.  The DH religious-political complex is implicitly dishonest (hardly unique, given RW history) and manufacturing it (GRoY) made it more vulnerable to the Lunars, rather than more resilient.

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24 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

I believe we still have some freedom as mandated by Greg and YGMV, or is canon now diktat?

[Wearing mod hat]: Yes, “Your Glorantha Will Vary” is long-established principle in Gloranthan fandom. But when @Jeff posts, he's doing so from a canonical perspective. You are welcome to disregard that in your Glorantha (YGMV and all that), but then maybe you should let people know you are not interested in talking about published Glorantha, but just your own idiosyncratic derivative. That would make it easier for readers to decide whether they want to pay attention or not.

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15 minutes ago, MOB said:

[Wearing mod hat]: Yes, “Your Glorantha Will Vary” is long-established principle in Gloranthan fandom. But when @Jeff posts, he's doing so from a canonical perspective. You are welcome to disregard that in your Glorantha (YGMV and all that), but then maybe you should let people know you are not interested in talking about published Glorantha, but just your own idiosyncratic derivative. That would make it easier for readers to decide whether they want to pay attention or not.

As I said, canon has become diktat, but I had been under the (mis?)impression that these discussions were not limited to canon.

So, apologies.  Of course all Lunar statements are truth, not propaganda.  One sees that now. 

I had wondered why I was finding Glorantha less and less fun, and was putting it down to being a true grognard.  Maybe I was wrong, and obviously must learn when to keep my mouth shut and my keyboard off.  Outtahere...

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42 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

As I said, canon has become diktat, but I had been under the (mis?)impression that these discussions were not limited to canon.

No, canon is not "diktat" at all. 

“Your Glorantha Will Vary” is long-established principle in Gloranthan fandom. First espoused by the creator of the setting himself, Greg Stafford, in a nutshell what it means is you are free and welcome to take what you want from the incredibly rich tapestry of myth, magic, history and wonder of Glorantha for use in your own creations, your games, in the Jonstown Compendium, or elsewhere. Including posts here.

The “official” canon for the world is found in material published by Chaosium/Moon Design Publications, with what is presented in The Guide to Glorantha and The Glorantha Sourcebook as definitive. And - unless he indicates otherwise - what @Jeff posts here is from a canonical perspective. 

However, canon only matters for official publications – for that which published by Chaosium Inc and its licensees. We strive to ensure that official publications stick to canon: however, that is a restriction on our (Chaosium's) interpretations of Glorantha, not yours.

Your Glorantha can vary as much or as little as you want.

Edited by MOB
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

You should. Your take on this would have some validity back in the First Wane, when many Yelmites feared that the Red Emperor had used Lunar trickery to be acclaimed as Yelm's incarnation in the world. Back then the Tripolis was bound by treaty oath, but was NOT a portion of the Lunar Empire(!) - and the god Alkoth had never sworn to a treaty with the Goddess. Think the Kingdom of Hungary under the later Habsburg dynasty. The Red Goddess used trickery, strange magic, and illusion to achieve many victories over the Carmanians, and the Yelmites understandably feared that their new emperor was less a Solar Emperor than a Lunar Emperor. And so they rebelled, allied with barbarians, but were ultimately defeated. The barbarians made their way into the gates of Glamour but were defeated when the Lunars revealed more secret magic. Then followed another ten years of sieges under Dara Happa was conquered. By 1285 the city of Alkoth surrendered, and their god was humbled before the Goddess, and accepted the pantheon.

So that is 340 years ago. Since then Dara Happa has been incorporated into the Lunar Empire, the gods and goddesses of Dara Happa are accepted the pantheon and so on. When Sheng Seleris invaded, some Dara Happans threw themselves in with the Pentans and became Dara Happa On Horse, but when the Pentans were expelled from Peloria, they were exterminated. Hon-eel married Yelm. The Red Emperors have firmly established their connection and control over the Pelorian Yelm cult (especially since the alternative is Sheng Seleris). 

So again, it is just as easy to say that in the centuries after its conquest in 1285, Dara Happa managed to capture the Lunar Empire. Certainly many in the White Moon Movement would say just that, with the Red Goddess fighting wars in distant Dragon Pass and sacrificing thousands to fight the Storm God rather than bring forth the White Moon Era.

As an aside, there are plenty of late Third Age commentators that the Celestial Deities have been dimmed or otherwise submitted to the Crimson Light of the Red Moon. Although I present the Sky Deities and the Lunar Deities as different pantheons, I very easily could have presented them as ONE celestial pantheon, now headed by the Red Goddess. Like how Marduk supplanted Enlil and became the head of the pantheon.

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The anti-Lunar Dara Happan nobility has had almost four centuries to fall afoul of Lunar suspicion and retribution. If they sat by throughout all the opportunities to go against the red usurper who somehow cheated at the Ten Tests, their conviction cannot have been that ardent. If a family was split into pro-Lunar and hesitant-towards-Lunars factions, and the pro-Lunars would rise in the Empire, those hesitant side lines would have sidelined themselves, and might be happy to provide the occasional member of the lesser priesthood presiding over the lower cults' rites.

That doesn't mean that there aren't families now riding the Lunar bat that would not jump off onto another political steed when opportunity arises. The Pentans are uncomfortably close, and uncomfortably active, and weird new movements may show up or come into prominence at the loss of an imperial head.

 

Yelm is not the only old imperial power that may be fomenting inside the Lunar envelope. There may be people dreaming of a Daxdarian revival, of a Carmanian/Castle Blue revival, of a new era of bird-riding overlords, or possibly bull shah revivalists emerging from Charg. Some of those might co-opt the Lunar Way, others might persecute it.

Imagine a Lunar dragon emperor wielding EWF powers and the Bat.

What we have are prophecies of the Black Sun, possibly radiating into what will become of the Lunar Empire.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 7/6/2021 at 6:58 AM, Joerg said:

What we have are prophecies of the Black Sun, possibly radiating into what will become of the Lunar Empire.

* and the White Moon

I wanted to remind everyone that while the Dara Happans have a lengthy and repeatedly reinvented history, it was founded roughly during the Thirty Years War from the perspective of the modern viewer and the idea that Dara Happa is still thinking about independence from Lunar dominance ... any plot that exists is going to be a new invention, a new idea, a new and fresh take on mythology, not some ancient-ass rehash of Schmalkadishe grievances.

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9 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

* and the White Moon

I wanted to remind everyone that while the Dara Happans have a lengthy and repeatedly reinvented history, it was founded roughly during the Thirty Years War from the perspective of the modern viewer and the idea that Dara Happa is still thinking about independence from Lunar dominance ... any plot that exists is going to be a new invention, a new idea, a new and fresh take on mythology, not some ancient-ass rehash of Schmalkadishe grievances.

Yes. This is what I keep trying to emphasise. I think it is more likely that there are Lunar plots to win independence from Dara Happan dominance.

Edited by Jeff
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On 7/6/2021 at 6:45 AM, Ali the Helering said:

I don't believe a word of it.

The Red Emperor has passed every test thrown at him by the Yelm Cult and has consistently proven himself to be Emperor of Dara Happa.

 

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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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

The Red Emperor has passed every test thrown at him by the Yelm Cult and has consistently proven himself to be Emperor of Dara Happa.

The tests were rigged. It's a steal.

The empire is a monolith of backstabbing intrigue, with the backstabbing formalized the same way the Lankhmar or Ankh Morpork thieves's guilds are. Formalizing this may have been a Lunar invention.

 

Grievances will last through centuries. The Confederates still smart at their loss, the Orangemen in Ireland profess to pursue regulations almost as long ago as the Thirty Years War.

 

Yelmites are obsessed with purity, and it is practically guaranteed that some obscure but pure family will maintain a bloodline untainted by lesser families' blood, even if that means not to interact with the offspring of Moonson and his low-status female partners (never mind that they underwent apotheosis, their lineages were left behind from their mortal phase of life). But they will have about as much political clout as a single White Moon agitator. Their magic may be immaculate (and fairly useless).

Illuminated Yelmites will recognize the moon as an intermediate tool to carry the Empire. The cyclical nature of the moon means that the irritation will go away for a while, and then return with new impetus. The savvy family will ride out either, as they did with that Spolite business, the Dragon Emperor, the Lion Shah spiel or the Bull Carmanian unpleasantness.

Those upstart three fifth dynasties so recklessly rewarded for removing a perfectly fine solar overlord may need to be put into their place - any underworld will do, for starters. But let them deal with those unsanitary washed barbarians from the south first.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

The Red Emperor has passed every test thrown at him by the Yelm Cult and has consistently proven himself to be Emperor of Dara Happa.

 

More to the point, the Red Emperor are as accepted a dynasty of Dara Happan emperors as the Khordavu dynasty or any other. They are for the most part seen as a "normal" Dara Happan dynasty. And heck, as the son of the Red Goddess, Moonson is way more legitimate than the mere son of Raibamuth or some distant descendant of Avivath the avatar of Yelmalio. 

The Dara Happan Emperor as Moonson has been accepted for centuries and the institution provided leadership to resist Sheng Seleris and his Pentans. The old Yelmite families are subservient to the institution of Moonson (even as they no doubt compete to be the next Mask) just as Yelm is subservient to the Red Goddess. If there are anti-Moonson movements (and of course there are), they likely come out of some of the Nysalorean schools (who just can't help it) or from ambitious figures within the Lunar leadership (who hope to be the next member of the dynasty).

Sure there might be some unrepentant Lhankor Mhy scribe who scribbles venom against Irrippi Ontor and the like and pines for the good old days when Yelm's light was not dimmed by the Crimson Moon, but such a person is about as marginal as you get and more likely to head south or east to support some barbarian warlord fighting against the Empire.

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46 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Sure there might be some unrepentant Lhankor Mhy scribe who scribbles venom against Irrippi Ontor and the like and pines for the good old days when Yelm's light was not dimmed by the Crimson Moon, but such a person is about as marginal as you get and more likely to head south or east to support some barbarian warlord fighting against the Empire.

This sounds like part of the origin story of a now famous and influential Sage of Sartar?

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It seems likely that as long as the Lunar Empire remains prosperous and stable, the legitimacy of Moonson is rock-solid. And moreover, just taken for granted. So implicit that it's not something people even really think about.

If anyone *wants* there to be a powerful Reactionary Yelmist movement in Dara Happa, it seems like the most likely moment would be after Argrath and his allies absolutely wrecks the Lunars' behinds (whenever the nadir of that whole thing is, my knowledge of late Hero Wars is spotty).

The Dara Happans would've lost a lot of resources, manpower and prestige, and watching it all coming down seems like the moment for some Citizen families to decide to "jump ship" and suddenly declare a fondness for whichever version of the Yelm cult they consider "pure" (which is none of them, but don't tell them that). Perhaps they would rally around a previously marginal Avivath-like figure or whatever. Nysaloreans, perhaps, or perhaps some even jumping ship to ally with a revived Sheng (the poor fools). There's a Monster Empire in there somewhere along the timeline, so who knows how Dara Happan Celestial types would work with that.

Actually, setting up a scenario where the White Moon movement goes full on public during this time as well would put Peloria in an interesting scenario of two divergent rebellions, possibly setting up a new status quo much later on.

While a post-Argrath Dara Happan rebellion might initially be for political expediency, one might hypothesize that it goes full on radicalized (something like Every Man a Sun or something Nysalorean) with the initial leaders losing control to ever more hardline factions. Moon worship might survive in a subservient or auxiliary fashion, but lose overt political significance. Or perhaps Dara Happa suffers a huge brain drain as skilled Lunars get the heck out of dodge before some crazed demagogue makes the mob burn down their house. Dara Happa's loss, ultimately.

The true legacy of the Red Moon might survive through emigrants, or in the Arrolians. Presumably places like First Blessed would remain Red Moon strongholds. We do know that the Moon survives in SOME form, at least, even if it doesn't have an attendant empire in the Middle World.

Anyway, all of this is pure speculation out of self-amusement. I think Jeff's point that the Moon is so integrated into Dara Happan society at this point (after several centuries, massive demographic shift and at least one total breakdown of society with a Lunar-spearheaded rebuilding) that separating the two would be very artificial and odd to the Dara Happans themselves.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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19 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Perhaps they would rally around a previously marginal Avivath-like figure or whatever.

This is all Great Gloranthan Fun. 

If I were advocating solar revival movements I'd probably start with a deep look at what Tatius believed and the religious orthodoxy he tried to promote at the College and within the broader imperial elites. A magician on that level always has an agenda and a trajectory . . . it's worth seeing how he helped create what we consider "the lunar way" going into the terminal Seventh Wane as well as the ways he diverged from the mainstream around him.

And now of course he's gone (died screaming) and the Assiday are not well equipped to carry on in his sudden unplanned absence. Time for other suns to grab for the spear standard if any sun wants to step up at all. Good times!

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