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Is the Kingdom of War a Lunar Plot?


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Hi!

In one of Sandy Petersen's talks at the German convention, he said that the Kingdom of War is essentially a plot by someone:  "There is a secret about who controls the Kingdom of War, but I think  Jeff is withholding that. But I’ll tell you this: the force that controls the Kingdom of War is published and known and is in The Guide to Glorantha.  It’s a specific group or person or place and  it’s in Fronela.  If you read closely, you can probably figure out who it is because it’s not particularly well concealed."

Now, I obviously fumbled my Lore (Glorantha) role, because I don't see it in the GtG.

But I just noticed this page by Greg in the Well of Daliath, Greg Sez: The Kingdom of War (Jul 1998) – The Well of Daliath (chaosium.com), which ends with the statement that "In fact, it was probably them [the Lunars] who first loosed the Kingdom of War to break down the Syndics Ban."

So is the Kingdom of War a Lunar plot?

Thanks,

David.

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From wot I heard and put together (salt as appropriate), the Arrolians did a big summoning to break the Ban and inadvertedly created the Kingdom of War. 

It does feature as a prong in the Big Bad God of Chaos which is not mentioned in the Guide. 

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The Syndic's Ban is generally blamed for bringing in the Kingdom of War, with Loskalm's utopian kingdom under Siglat externalizing their dark side, providing the kernel and driving force of the Kingdom of War.

The Queen of the Kiss and Lord Death on a Horse are loosely tied to the overarching Chaos plot that also includes the Black Sun conspiracy, the Chaos Horde Swap, and a new antigod Chaos overlord rising from the East Isles. The Lunars have agents of the Black Sun inside their Imperial College, and then there is the prophecy of Ralzakark as future Lunar Emperor.

The weirdest theory I have seen in this context is that Fronela received an insert of land, pushing North Loskalm to the west by about 15 degrees. Compare the maps of First or Second Age Trollpak (or the mythical God Learner maps in the Guide) with that of Third Age Trollpak or the Argan Argar Atlas.

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1 minute ago, Eff said:

So let's take it as given that the Arrolians actually did create the Kingdom of War via a botched summoning ritual to break the Ban. What were they trying to summon, that they got the Kingdom of War instead? 

What they aimed for would have been the connections between their cities, undoing the infinite borders created by the Ban.

If you combine that with the land insert, what they did summon are the new lands, from the raw Creation entrapped in the folds beneath Arachne Solara's Web.

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2 hours ago, Eff said:

So let's take it as given that the Arrolians actually did create the Kingdom of War via a botched summoning ritual to break the Ban. What were they trying to summon, that they got the Kingdom of War instead? 

My answer has to do with the Minderkind Sages of Riverjoin (mentioned in one of the Wyrms Foonotes as believing that Storm Bull killed Kajabor rather than Wakboth but not seen or heard in later publications).  Their odd belief, I supposed, was a general part of their philosophy and they went around proving that Good was Evil, Freedom is Slavery and War is Peace etc.

Their leader was Varnaro of Riverjoin who could Life was Death which led to her ability at killing with a glance.  Now prior attempts at eliminating the Ban had failed because it was treated as a Great Curse.  Varnaro decided to eliminate the Ban by treating it as a Great Blessing instead.  Hence to destroy it she would summon the Devil.  Much labour and material was expended in the summoning which yielded a "huge translucent demon" (Guide p218) which stands at her side.  The summoning was judged a failure and she retired having apparently wasted everybody's time for no good reason.  

It was only after contact with the Lunar Empire resumed that people started connecting the dots and found out her summoning was a huge success.  So a grateful population made her ruler of Riverjoin. It is only with the appearance of the Kingdom of War that people have gotten the big picture and are wondering what to do next...

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

The weirdest theory I have seen in this context is that Fronela received an insert of land, pushing North Loskalm to the west by about 15 degrees. Compare the maps of First or Second Age Trollpak (or the mythical God Learner maps in the Guide) with that of Third Age Trollpak or the Argan Argar Atlas.

I thought that would be non-canon anymore (the text from Greg in the OP is very old after all, even older than me), mainly bc the Guide and Sourcebook historical maps don't show any "land insert", and they show the change of lands in Seshnela and Slontos. Now that I think of it, I remember the Guide mentions a ruin (called Old Ruins) in the upper course of the Janube between Galastar and Gladfield which no one remembers being there before the ban, but it's "banned section" as seen in page 201 is too small to be a significant land insert, and it's far from the supposed culprits of Riverjoin and the resulting disaster of the KoW. Also the land from which the KoW was born, in the Black Forest, was remembered before the ban, so I don't really know what to think about any of it. 

Also, I have always thought that the mysterious depopulation of Donaros and Vibdoket (maybe also of Dalsard) has to be linked with the KoW, not bc the depopulation, which could be easily explained by the ban and its consequences (hunger, civil strife...) but bc the KoW was already born with an army, yet it appeared in previous Uz territory, and we know that if we can say something good about the Uz is that they never side with Chaos. So, where did all those humans that serve the KoW come from? Some may have flocked to it after it appeared but we are talking about an army that can challenge that of the great Loskalm, one of the biggest states in all Glorantha, it must have counted with a big base of recruits. Also I think it's kind of interesting that thousands of janubians were teleported into a small territory and magically tortured and terrified until they became one of the worst things the world has ever seen, and I can definitely picture the Lunars doing that. 

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10 hours ago, metcalph said:

My answer has to do with the Minderkind Sages of Riverjoin (mentioned in one of the Wyrms Foonotes as believing that Storm Bull killed Kajabor rather than Wakboth but not seen or heard in later publications).  Their odd belief, I supposed, was a general part of their philosophy and they went around proving that Good was Evil, Freedom is Slavery and War is Peace etc.

Their leader was Varnaro of Riverjoin who could Life was Death which led to her ability at killing with a glance.  Now prior attempts at eliminating the Ban had failed because it was treated as a Great Curse.  Varnaro decided to eliminate the Ban by treating it as a Great Blessing instead.  Hence to destroy it she would summon the Devil.  Much labour and material was expended in the summoning which yielded a "huge translucent demon" (Guide p218) which stands at her side.  The summoning was judged a failure and she retired having apparently wasted everybody's time for no good reason.  

It was only after contact with the Lunar Empire resumed that people started connecting the dots and found out her summoning was a huge success.  So a grateful population made her ruler of Riverjoin. It is only with the appearance of the Kingdom of War that people have gotten the big picture and are wondering what to do next...

Hmmm. And we have statements that the Arrolian city-states have been operating Moon Boats for years before the Thaw, or claimed to. And then there's the Legion of Infants and that expedition by the Lunar Empire proper, which was one of the events leading to the Thaw. So to dive into metaphysics for a moment, if we understand Varnaro's ritual as defining the death of the God of the Silver Feet and the loss of Communication as a blessing, then perhaps the Kingdom of War is a "curse of Communication", and this is why it spreads so easily and permits the mingling of every god of war: everyone within the KoW communicates perfectly well and disputes are resolved easily and without strife. But alas, communication with outsiders is a difficult process, to be done at the point of a sword. (I think the whole "Loskalmi toxic emotional waste" motif also works here- the things Loskalm rejects mingle with the curse of Communication (and possibly other things!) and they become the Kingdom of War.)

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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On 9/23/2021 at 5:39 AM, Joerg said:

The Syndic's Ban is generally blamed for bringing in the Kingdom of War, with Loskalm's utopian kingdom under Siglat externalizing their dark side, providing the kernel and driving force of the Kingdom of War.

Yeah, I was always of the impression that the Kingdom of War was, if anything, a MALKIONI "plot", or rather a side-effect of Loskalm doing some sorcerous social engineering and dumping their emotional waste somewhere else.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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That is one of Sandy's more cryptic pronouncements. Given the amount of time he focused in that talk on the reforestation, I'd be surprised if his players didn't find a way to blame the local elves for using KOW as a blunt instrument to exhaust the meat nations before the big reveal.

IMG like many of the big things it's overdetermined. For some, KOW is the expression of Loskalm's utopian rejection of conflict . . . but at that vantage, we could just as easily argue that the modern Lunar Empire also functions as that kind of geopolitical shadow, glowering just across the horizon with a sorcerous infrastructure partially derived from the old unreconstructed "Irensaval" system. Squint at it right and these are Siglat's (pbuh) decadent cousins who speak something like our magical language but get everything wrong. 

As for the Arrolians, there's still a lot we don't know about both sides the Fronelan frontier going into the Ban. Were the Valmark colonies also oppressed by the White Bear Empire? In that scenario, maybe their magicians traveled down river to participate in Snodal's conspiracy . . . and they would shoulder shared responsibility for the fragmentation of regional identity that followed. I always thought that was what was at stake with the demon of Riverjoin, Varnaro's externalization of some aspect of the city's communal consciousness (or her own, or some fusion of the two). 

Or was the Ban imposed by the proto-Loskalmites on everyone else in the region, in which case the relatively innocent communities wouldn't shoulder the magical consequences? Again, there's still a lot we don't know about pre-Ban politics. I don't think the country we call Loskalm today was anywhere near as hegemonic at the time . . . places like Valmark now lost to the current records may have been much bigger factors in those days. In that scenario, Loskalm's crime and Loskalm's guilt are interesting to Loskalmites but other people in the region are still getting offered the terrible choice  of KOW.

Maybe the real solution will actually come from a refugee magician from Perfe or somewhere, someone who has lost everything already and is not intimately involved with the Siglatist (pbuh) national drama.

I do believe the Shattered Map Hypothesis by the way. It doesn't show up in the Guide maps because one of the horrific things about the Ban is that the landscapes it changed were also affected retroactively . . . most (but not all) old maps adjusted themselves to match the new unfolding reality as the region reopened. Whoever compiled the Trollpak maps and a few others was somehow immune to this "minarian map revision." I don't have time right now to unroll my archival maps but IMG it wasn't as much actual area being created, destroyed, stretched or compressed as a rotation of the coast and a slight shuffle of the inland features (lakes, forests, etc.).

The Ban was big and the Ban was bad. Ripping the Snodal culture out of its context and then cramming it back into Third Age Glorantha messed a lot of stuff up around the edges.

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The Syndics Ban definitely was a cabal that included Fronelans from the entire run of the DJanube. Hostility to the White Bear Empire may have been one factor in participation, but Snodal's map of a future submerged Fronela may have convinced other parties seeing their homes in the inundated regions to participate regardless of their stance towards the White Bear Empire.

The Syndics did target the God of Silver Feet, however, targeting the communication and the unity of the land. The weird fracturing that followed appears to be a more extreme result than any of the Syndics would have expected.

The Arrolian city states were targeted by the White Bear Empire, but at the same time they were living off the trade aspect of the God of the Silver Feet. For them, the map threat would be the better motivation, but that would have to connect the Silver Feet with Zzabur and Brithos.

 

What's that connection? The Kachisti.

 

Edited by Joerg
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2 hours ago, Revilo Divad Of Dyoll said:

I agree that the Brithini are logical suspects (for pretty much anything), but why are long-dead (I think) Kachisti relevant?

They are the source for the God of Silver Feet - the Speaking Tour was how they entered the lands of the Hykimi. They brought Tradetalk, they walked the paths that connect the populations.

And Zzabur knew how to use those for his magics.

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What people are assiduously ignoring is that the main area still under the Syndics Ban is Brithos.  Where Brithos used to sit, there is now a big cloud of silvery mist; my, doesn't that sound familiar?  Remember that Snodal used the ritual murder of the God of Silver Feet to invoke the Ban, and he did that to avoid Zzabur sinking Fronela, so it was less Loskalmi magical dumping, and more a cut/paste of Gloranthan reality, using Loskalm's rejected shadow as the editing tool.  So effectively the various snipped areas have been sitting in the buffer or have been "saved to notepad" (now that's a form of Irensavalism that most people don't suspect).😄

It is interesting that the Lunars have been meddling with these areas, but since the return of the Boat Planet, the spell has been crumbling, or more correctly "Thawing".  Of course that presupposes that the lands in question have been frozen in time.  This might be true of the Rathori who hibernated,  but most of these places seem to have been going their merry way without reference to the outside world, and the KoW is no different.

It is also worth pointing out that the KoW is not the only area liberated by the Thaw, it is just the most problematic.  There are actually multiple areas affected, and most of them are not half so dangerous as the KoW.  I mean, you have the Uncolings of Porent, the Golden Tyrant and Yelm worshippers of Southbank, Timms, Mortasor, Riverjoin etc.

In any case I don't buy the idea that the KoW is the rejected shadow of the Loskalmi.  Loskalm practices meritocratic feudalism, but feudal order is implicitly a military order.  Yes there is the caste system, but look how the society is composed.  King, wizards, warriors, peasantry.  It is a place where you become a good farmer so you can join the military caste, not a place where you become a good soldier so you can join the peasantry, and live out your days honing your skill as an artisan.  Peace may be a Loskalmi ideal, but Chalana Arroys they are not.  Just as the Vadeli offer a novel logical spin on the castes of Brithos, the Kingdom of War is merely a more logical form of military organization than Loskalm has.😉

As to the Lunar idea that the Kingdom of War is morally neutral, well, perhaps for a culture that uses chaos monsters as shock troops this is true, but it is only true in a relative sense.  If the Lunars themselves were less morally reprehensible, they would probably see a ravening horde of war hungry serial killer honed by centuries of isolation in murder-crazy-land as a bad thing, and not a potential political opportunity to cause trouble for their bothersome neighbors. 😛

Edited by Darius West
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Near Brithos we also find one of the new lands - the Red Vadeli Isles, previously unknown, and roughly in the waters where you would expect western Brithos.

 

I often state that Glorantha is a patchwork, held together by the Web of Arachne Solara, with missing bits in between pasted over by the substance the Spider extruded after devouring the Devil. But there is a good chance that pieces that used to be far apart got pulled together, and that fragments in between got folded out of the surface of the weave - Hidden Castles, lands that appear and disappear again. In Fronela and around Brithos, many of these may have unfolded as consequence of the Ban and its Thaw.

 

Dormal was unable to find Brithos when he left Loskalm. I wonder whether multiple releases of the Ban were required to make Brithos accessible again.

 

Finding Brithos involved many participants, apparently including Prince Aamor, but many were betrayed and supposedly killed in the process.

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