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difference between Tarsh and Sartar?


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In between Tarshites and Heortlings was the empty Dragon Pass, from 1120 to 1350ish. 
So there was no connection between these two Orlanthi groups. 

Sartar was resettled from Heortland (except for the Far Point region around Alda-Chur, which was repopulated by Tarshite settlers). 

In more than 200 years without contact with each other they developed a little bit differently. 

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There were a lot of minor differences in between these two groups. 
But the difference became much bigger with the Lunar occupation. 

Tarsh is much longer under Lunar occupation and the Lunar influences are all over the place, and the hardcore Tarshites are living in exile at Kero Fin. 
Sartar was conquered barely a generation ago, the Lunar influences are mostly limited to the cities, and only part of the hardcore Sartarites went to Heaortland and  Whitewall, a lot of them stayed in the hills of their clan territories. 

In MY Glorantha the differences in bewteen the (non lunarised Tarshites and Sartarites) are: 
- Different dialect (Sartarites and Tarshites still have a very good chance of understanding each other)
- Sartarites are Highlanders, which prefer to ride or just walking, Tarshites are Lowlanders, which prefer to use wagons and chariots
- Sartarite men prefer beards, while Tarshite men prefer mustaches
- Sartarites ride ponys or praxian beasts, Tarshites ride pelorian horses
- Besides Ernalda Maran Gor is more commonly worshipped among Tarshites than in Sartar
- Sartites are proud of their white wine (especially Clearwine), but Tarshites prefer red whine. 
- Sartarites are proud, Tarshites are arrogant

I don´t know how much of these differences were caused by the longer influence of the Lunars, or how much are just "being Tarshite"

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37 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

Different dialect (Sartarites and Tarshites still have a very good chance of understanding each other)

Language is one element.  Per the Guide p.169: "Sartarite is a Southern Theyalan dialect similar to that spoken in the Holy Country; Tarshite is a Northern Theyalan tongue that diverged from Southern Theyalan about 500 years ago when the Dragonkill divided the Theyalan speakers of Dragon Pass. It has many borrowings from Dara Happan, Talastaring, Carmanian, and New Pelorian."

Religion is another.  Orlanth worship is largely suppressed in Tarsh and has been for perhaps 3 generations - so local worship is of Ernalda and Barntar vs. Ernalda and Orlanth.  There is also considerable worship of the 7 Mothers and Hon-eel in Tarsh.

The Orlanth Rex subcult originated with Alakoring in southern Peloria, including the Tarshites.  This has spread through the Sartarite tribes now.  The Tarshite tribes might be larger, "uber"-tribes than in Sartar.  The Guide notes: "The clan chiefs owe allegiance to regional leaders who used to be tribally elected, but are now appointed by the king."

Edited by jajagappa
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While the Earth religious complexes of both groups revere Kero Fin, my impression is that Sartarite Orlanthi look towards Esrolia to learn the deep earth mysteries, while Tarshites look primarily to the Shaker Temple, and so have a greater Gorian influence on their Earth approaches.

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Doubtless Tarsh being a major Lunar Province and Dragon Pass being an important trade route means there's a lot of Pelorian influence in the material culture, too. It might be less notable out in rural areas, but in the cities you'd definitely see a lot of people wearing Pelorian-style clothes and the like.

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The lowlands of Tarsh are a very different place to Sartar.  They draw their traditions from the Orlanthi tribes to the north of Dragons Pass rather than those of the Heortlands.  The Tarshites are people of the axe, historically, but now they are lunar converts and favor the curved blades of their conquerors.  They worship Hon-Eel and the Lunar pantheon and there has been an effort to introduce the weak god Doburdun to replace Orlanth in the countryside.  The Tarshites are far more horse cavalry oriented than most Sartarites, given than they have open plains.

Tarsh recognizes the Feathered Horse Queen as the ruler of Dragons Pass, and sometimes their kings have married her to become Kings of Dragons Pass, but they are far more tied into her religion than Sartar.  Many of the serfs of the Grazelanders, called the Vendrefi, are taken or traded from Tarsh.

The Tarsh Exiles remain responsible for the coronation of the Sorana Tor, as it can only occur at the Earthshaker Temple at the feet of Mount Kero Fin.  The Exiles hate the Lunars and plot with the various minor powers of Dragons Pass to form a coalition against them.  Over time, they began to resent the power of the Kingdom of Sartar reborn under Argrath, and made for jealous and inconstant allies.  The Tarsh Exiles have better relations with the Dragonewts than most, and the cult of Maran Gor is able to marshal dinosaurs to support its martial ambitions.

Tarsh has a larger population than Sartar, and has never had a problem with the ethics of blood sacrifice to serve the earth.  This was a fact that Hon-Eel incorporated into her cult, as will be elaborated in the forthcoming Gods of Glorantha.

While Tarsh is no stranger to the horrors of the Crimson Bat, they are also occasionally attacked by the Hydra, a multi-headed chaos dragon with powerful regeneration, that is even more destructive than the bat. Lunar illuminates are studying how to bring the hydra under Lunar control as a tool for future wars.

Tarsh settled Far Point, the northern reaches of Sartar.  As a result Northern Sartar speaks Tarshite, and has closer blood ties to the West than most tribes of Sartar.  Lunars are interested in Snakepipe Hollow and the Upland Marsh as a source of chaos mercenaries to be used in pacifying the region, especially after Sartar reasserts itself.

The mercenary lord Sir Ethilrist conducts a great deal of business with Lunar Tarsh, and almost invariably serves the Tarshite crown in any wars.  While the demon riding Black Horse Troop are sorcerous westerners, they choose to follow the Red Emperor, as he has granted them land, and due to Lunar proximity.  The Atroxic church of Sir Ethilrist is also hostile to the Rokari and Loskalmi mercenaries who work for Argrath in his Sartarite Magical Union.  It is unknown how the Black Horse Zzaburi feel about the city of 10,000 Magicians in Lunar Aggar, but it is likely to be mixed at best.

Dragon Pass has been the main avenue of Lunar Expansion for the last fifty years, and hence it is politically important to the Lunar military, and the site of much career building and nob-jockeying for power.  This occasionally becomes quite similar to a "dart competition" in Glamor, though can degenerate into a purge, but is often merely effected by the stroke of the Emperor's stylus with a word in his ear.

Commercially Tarsh is a prosperous crossroads for trade.  Tarsh exports grain and wool downriver to Nochet and imports a great deal from Peloria, being located on the major caravan route of Genertela.  When not ravaged by war, Tarsh is agriculturally rich in cropland, sheep and cattle.  The agricultural reforms of the Lunar Empire have taken hold in Tarsh, but the communal agriculture and noble estates and plantations of the Heartlands, while present, have not asserted dominance over the tribal people, and so the tribes still contribute warlike hill-folk to the Lunar Armies, in the form of the Tarsh Corps, who answer to the King of Tarsh, and then the Lunar Military.  Lunar Tarsh maintains nominal independence at best, and is a puppet state of the Lunar Empire, with the King of Tarsh being little more than a Lunar Satrap supportend by inheritance rather than appointment.

Edited by Darius West
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17 minutes ago, coffeemancer said:

should have prefixed that I was most curious about pre-lunar tarsh, BUT I appriciate the info regardless and I will surely find it useful

You can find a fair amount of background in the Redline History of the Lunar Empire in Glorantha Sourcebook.  The maps are useful to see the large tribal confederations.  The Orlanth Rex cult is very important and likely plays a key role in uniting the smaller tribes together for a time before they break apart again.  The emergence of a Tarsh dynasty aligns with increased Lunar presence.

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11 hours ago, Darius West said:

Tarsh settled Far Point, the northern reaches of Sartar.  As a result Northern Sartar speaks Tarshite, and has closer blood ties to the West than most tribes of Sartar.  Lunars are interested in Snakepipe Hollow and the Upland Marsh as a source of chaos mercenaries to be used in pacifying the region, especially after Sartar reasserts itself.

It would be more correct to say that the people who settled the Far Place (and the Donalf Flats) were part of the same migrations as the people who settled what became Tarsh.

The Far Walkers appear to have come as one rather cohesive group around a strong leader, taking possession of Alda-chur as soon as they arrived.


The northern immigration has seen a lot less detail observation in King of Sartar, no big surprise given its topic. Arim making the preliminary contract with the powers of the land (centaur, grazer, dragonewt, Sorana Tor) for an unspecified number of people makes a difference.

The formative event of the kingdom may have been the success at the Battle of Falling Hills, where Arim and the twins demonstrated their tie to the land.


All of Dragon Pass served as occasional pasture by the then more nomadic Grazer people. While they have a prohibition against herding any other beasts, they clearly are allowed to hunt all manner of other beasts, and would have had a quite varying meat diet preying on the wildlife of the pass. Taking their toll from the annual Tusker migrations, going after deer, hunting small game through archery or possibly falconry.

The Grazers refrained from raiding across the Crossline or Deathline until their presence had become common knowledge outside of Dragon Pass. They would have raided Orlanthi settlers in Dragon Pass (including all those groups who became Vendref under the Feathered Horse Queen), and did show up raiding the Quivini clans and tribes.


There are many Vendref groups that come from the same migration that resulted in people becoming Tarshites. It is likely that any settlers west of the Dragonspine speak Tarshite, with immigrants from Esrolia ending up as Vendref in the southeastren Grazelands.

Arim's influence seems to have ended at Sikithi Vale or otherwise roughly the southern extent of the Glowline or the Exile territory. Anybody going beyond that would be fair game for the Grazers to dominate. So who were the hopeful settlers who went beyond where Arim could guarantee their freedom?

Telling how it is excessive verbis


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On 7/21/2021 at 7:56 AM, Doug said:

I believe in Tarsh clan is less important and city is more. See the base pasions on RQG p27. I know HW/HQ/TR is out of fashion now, but clan was *everything*, so switching to city-based is a fundamental societal difference

Except that tribe/clan ties follow you to the city, they just aren't quite as strong now you regularly mix with outsiders.  People don't suddenly become atomized modern individualists just because they live in a city.  Every Roman citizen knew their tribe and clan for example.  Clans form street gangs, guilds, sport clubs etc. to protect their interests, and factionalize with other groups to protect their interests.  This sort of urban tribal affiliation will be stronger in Sartar, but it won't be anywhere near extinguished in Tarsh, or even in Glamour.  I suspect that some suburbs of Nochet have a stronger tribal identity than some Sartarite clans who have low morale due to troubles and setbacks.

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Athens had 4 tribes up through Cleisthenes in 508 BC. But my understanding is that 10 tribes and 100+ demes broke the old clan+tribe system. I guessed that something similar is happening in Tarsh because clan bonds are no longer strong enough to produce a passion. Sure, everyone knows what clan they nominally belong to, but that is increasingly less significant. Since the clans often have traditions that involve a certain windbag, the lunar provincial government, in conjunction with the various lunar cults, are trying to refocus people to more acceptable identities. And the Solars think fidelity to a specific city is only reasonable.

As I said before, mostly I'm trying to justify why Sartarites have a passion for a clan and Lunar Tarshites for a city, and using it as a difference between the two. I could be way off base.

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The Dinacoli identified with the trade road policy of the Princes and joined the Jonstown Confederation at one point, after rather long animosity with the tribes on the Creek. Later under Lunar occupation they switched their allegiance to Alda-chur.

Prince Terasarin welcomed the Aldachuri in the principality, after previous major sacrifices on behalf of these tribes (like the death of Prince Jarolar covering the retreat of their militia). A son of the Prince married into the confederation.

The Alone tribes got their city and rather secure refuge from Prince Terasarin. There is a good chance that Alone resembles a place like Swenstown more than a Tarshite city.


What are the differences?

The language spoken. 

The Dinacoli and the Far Point tribes had Yelmalio as their tribal sun and rider deity from the get-go. No Monroghian conversion there.

They remember (fondly) their membership in Arim's (or rather Yarandros's) Kingdom of Tarsh, but never acknowledged the Illaro dynasty kings (including the Lunar dynasty) prior to the occupation.


Telling how it is excessive verbis


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On 7/20/2021 at 6:20 AM, coffeemancer said:

Allegedly, there are cultural differences between Sartarites and Tarshites, specially in customs, but I cant find any sources that actually tell us the difference.

Because my campaign is set around Alone (whose tribes are Tarshite refugees of the Battle of Grizzly Peak), I asked that very question a few months ago on Facebook.

Hold on to your pants, here are the most notable replies I got:

1. From @Ian Cooper


In my go to model - Esrolia is Crete/Mycenaean, Heortland is La Tene, and Tarsh is Hittite, with Sartar being a bit of an amalgam like the Thracians.
Other than that, I see Sartar as still really a confederation of tribes, with the Princes leaders of the over tribe, whereas Tarsh is a kingdom, so the clans and tribes are less important there now.

Things I can recall from Greg when working in things like IWS:

* Arim is a holy figure, a sort of Moses who led his people to the promised land.
* Yarandros is their ‘great king’ a sort of David figure. “Greater Tarsh” is the period when much of DP, including the Quivini tribes, paid tribute too, or were subject to the kingdom of Tarsh.
* Restoring Tarsh to this glory is an aspiration for many (see also The Rising of Tarsh in WB&RM). Think about how significant a kingdom is that encompasses Tarsh, Wintertop, the Far Place and has Sartar as a ‘client’
* The invasion of Sartar had as much to do with the ambitions of the HonEel dynasty to restore Greater Tarsh, as the Lunar drive to the sea.
* The other provincial kingdoms resist Greater Tarsh, it would dominate the provincial Orlanthi kingdoms.
* Whereas in Sartar the kingdom is held together by the web of obligations/benefits of the confederations or tribal loyalties to the House of Sartar (hence the semi-independence of the Colymar), Tarsh is a real kingdom with the tribal power on the wane and loyalty from most to the ‘Tarsh’ tribe.

But, that’s as was, it’s really up to Jeff what the shape of all of this is now.

Oh there is a prophecy that’s interesting if I can dig it out - the Tarshites don’t see the Argrath as their liberator.

BTW don’t underestimate the importance of how HonEel obtained power, by seducing the king and bearing the heir, not by conquest. Tarshite loyalty is to their throne, not the Empire, it’s just that the two are the same. Jar-Eel is kin to the ruling dynasty.

Tarsh is mixed, you could have an Orlanth worshipping PC who is loyal to the royal house and thus fights for the ‘Empire’ or a Lunar convert who believes that Hon-Eel’s dynasty is illegitimate and is loyal to Wintertop. It’s much less clear than Sartar.

Finally, after 1627 the action is all about ‘Greater Tarsh’ in KoS. Sartar is often ‘behind the lines’. I think it’s a great focus for an RQG campaign.

I think the influence of the Phargentites on the king is also an issue - it’s not really clear what that is- but it seems as though Fazzur’s beef with the king is that he is ill-advised.

2. From @davecake


as I understand it most of the current tension is more or less a split in the ruling house, because Fazzur is a branch of that house, and this complicates things hugely because we have the legitimate king with support of the Emperor (and the Assiday and Errol-unit), but Fazzur is a national hero with huge personal loyalty from large chunks of the army, and gets most of the support of the EelAriash - and the covert support of Argrath.

3. From Thomas Iverson

(I'm not sure if he's on BRP)


Reading the comments, I am picking up a couple different things... 1) you want to know how the Far Place Orlanthi differ from the Sartarites, and 2) you want to know how the Old Tarsh (including Tarsh Exiles) Orlanthi differ from the Sartarites. At least, I see those as two seperate things. Lunar Tarsh, the Tarsh Exiles, and the Far Place Orlanthi have diverged a bit over the last few decades, and may come from different sources in the first place. Here's my take on it.
One similarity between Orlanthi Sartarites and Tarshites is that they use the Rex rites, which allow kings to tell priests what to do, and disallow priests bossing around kings. Alakoring Dragonbreaker taught the rites when he cleansed the EWF Orlanth cult of draconic influences.

A point of divergence is that after the Dragonkill, Orlanthi north of now-shut Dragon Pass still considered themselves Alakoringites after the hero that restored worship to the proper ways. South of Dragon Pass, influenced by the never-quite-subjugated Hendriki, Orlanthi considered themselves Heortlings, which was the prior term before the whole establishment of the Orlanthland/EWF debacle. The Heortlings still use Alakoring rites, but even with innovations, they were supposedly picking up where they left off centuries earlier. So, around Dragon Pass we can speak broadly of Alakoringites (Pelorian Orlanthi) and Heortlings (Kethaelan Orlanthi). In the Homelands section of RQG, this is localized as the Tarshite and Heortling Cultures in the current year.

Tarshites are culturally influenced by others in the Pelorian basin. This doesn't necessarily mean Lunars (although it does in Lunar Tarsh and around Alda-Chur), but instead can be the Saird region and Dara Happa. There is generally more Solar influence than in Sartar, and more of a riverine focus as well, at least in Tarsh proper. They still use the Barntar scratch plow, and follow the usual Orlanthi patterns of kinship, agriculture, and society. However, some of the aspects of their material culture may show their proximity to the finished goods of the rest of Peloria. The more proximity and contact with Sartar, the more this shows Kethaelan (and Esrolian/Holy Country) aspects. Sartar and Tarsh have a lot in common, though. Bison are riding beasts in both, and Alda-Chur is a crossroads for traffic on both sides of Dragon Pass. The on-gain, off-again relationship between Tarsh and the Pure Horse People means Tarshites may have more of a horse-riding culture, or at least know good breeding when they see it. I suspect that a lot of this may be lost to most of the Tarsh Exiles and hill folk up in the Far Place, but perhaps they breed hardy ponies with an unlikely descent from Grazelander horses.

Tarshites look to Arim in much the same way that Sartarites look to Sartar. Lunar Tarshites still perform his rites at Bagnot, and the Old Tarshites still consider themselves his heirs. The Far Place folks probably don't care as much, as they either more independent (around Alda-Chur), or are so far from Tarsh (around Alone) that they now look more toward Sartar politically. The Far Place has seldom been tightly integrated into either kingdom, so while the Tarsh Exiles around Wintertop are very invested in the idea of restoring the Old Kingdom (or at least kicking out the Lunar Tarshites), the Far Place Tarshites are more pragmatic. Or mercenary, depending on who you ask. The last claimant to the throne of Tarsh from Alda-Chur was over 150 years ago, and they wisely swore allegiance to Illaro Blacktooth. The pivot from Tarsh to Sartar and back for the Aldachuri shows what few connections they feel to Tarsh proper. The widely reviled Harvar Ironfist certainly seemed to be setting himself up as a quasi-independent warlord beholden only to the Empire and merely paying lip service to the king in Furthest. The saps around Alone probably just want to not be beaten up any more, and if that means beating up others to bring some peace and allying with Argrath, so be it. For another example, see how the Dinacoli flip around their allegiances.

Religiously, Tarshites are Orlanthi. Due to Pelorian influences, the Yelmalio cult is more widespread for Tarshites than either Elmal or Yelmalio in Sartar. Likewise, the proximity of Maranaba places Maran Gor far higher in importance, especially for the Tarsh Exiles, than for Sartarites. They may have a few different heroes than the Sartarite Orlanth cult, but I bet most cult gatherings for Tarshites versus Sartarites would be indistinguishable for an outsider. Due to the marginal locations of many Tarsh Exiles and Far Point settlers, the rural areas may have more shamans than in Sartar. Likewise, hunting and foraging gods and spirits may be given more priority. Note that the Seven Mothers cult still has a bit of pull around Alda-Chur, although its influence is waning.
Clothing is probably similar for both Tarshites and Sartarites, although the motifs may be different. They live in a similar climate. There is a different Customs (Tarshite) skill in RQG, so maybe they give thanks to "The Hidden Kingdom" or ask for "The Twins Blessing" before meals, etc.. One gets the impression that the Tarsh Exiles and the Far Point tribes aren't exactly the nicest people, so Tarsh, without the synthesizing and harmonizing King Sartar, may be a bit more brutal or unrefined in manners, not counting the influences from civilized Peloria and the Empire. That said, they aren't very different from Sartarites in many respects. They are Orlanthi. Many, but not all, of the differences are probably cosmetic before the Lunar layer gets put on top in Lunar Tarsh. That said, the Exiles especially are getting pushed to extremes, so I expect some wackiness from Wintertop if they can get the Shaker Temple motivated.

4. Last but not least, from @Jeff



1. Tarshites and Sartarites worship the same basic pantheon of gods - Orlanth and the Lightbringers, Ernalda, Maran Gar, Babeester Gor. Some are a little more important in one group than the other (Maran Gor is more important among the Tarshites, Orlanth and Ernalda are even more important in Sartar than in Tarsh).
2. Both are organised primarily along kinship lines, and broadly fit into the category of "Orlanthi cultures."
3. Both use the same script for writing.
4. Both speak related languages.


1. Tarshites have much more influences from lowland Peloria. Greater obvious social stratification, more Solar and Lunar social influences (even without adopting Solar and Lunar cults), clothing and jewellery influences from the lowlands, art and architectural influences from the lowlands.
2. Sartarites have much more influences from Esrolia. More goddess worship, higher status of women, clothing and jewellery, art and architectural influences, etc.
3. Trade is a bigger deal for the Sartarites than the Tarshites. Sartar has many more caravanserai, and their cities are fundamentally centres for trade, crafts, and dispute resolution - Tarshite cities are tribal or imperial centres of authority.
4. Sartarites have a much more advanced stonemasonry craft than the Tarshites.
5. Sartarites have a much greater influence from Prax. Praxian animals are common in Sartar.

Jeff's and Ian's answers are of course the ones I paid the most attention to.

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Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

I've always wondered, why are the Lunars so intent on destroying Orlanth? Why not follow Lokaymayadon's footsteps and try to subjugate Orlanth? Surely Tarsh would be the place to attempt such an experiment?

The aim is to send Orlanth to hell so he can become illuminated as the Red Goddess was.  Or so I've been told.

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

I've always wondered, why are the Lunars so intent on destroying Orlanth? Why not follow Lokaymayadon's footsteps and try to subjugate Orlanth? Surely Tarsh would be the place to attempt such an experiment?

Both claim the Middle Air.  Also Rufelza is a chaos deity.

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I see it the other way around. Lokamaydon did not work, so they tried something new, and if succesful they could have transplanted that strategy of barbarian weakening to Charg, Talastar and even contemplate expansion in Ralios, besides weakening their own barbarians.

More Empire against barbarians than Chaos against not-Chaos.

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