Jump to content

Lunar Imperial Caravans to Kralorela


Evilroddy

Recommended Posts

To the wise Magi of Glorantha:

I have some questions about the trans-Pent caravans which travel from Oraya Sultanate to the East. 

1) Are these caravans homogeneous groups specifically created by the Molari-Sor Clan and run by Redlands agents, guides and guards? Or are they more heterogeneous corporations of independent Etyries and Lokarnos merchant houses which band together under the banner of the Molari-Sor Clan? Can Argan Argar and Issaries merchants participate in some capacity?

2) Do these caravans hire unaffiliated mercenary guards or are they guarded by Redlanders and the private guards of the merchant houses involved?

3) Are Yara Aranis cult members allowed/encouraged to join such caravans as protectors from the horse nomads or are they considered an unnecessary provocation to the Pentlanders?

4) What route do these caravans take? Is it Palbar to Ha'ar Za'al to Red Hair Place then east-northeast over the Gork Hills (if that's what they're called that far north), then east-southeast to Kralorela or east-northeast to the Kingdom of ignorance? It's the last leg that I am confused about. Where do they cross the mountains and where do they go from there? Finally, how far into Kralorela do the caravans travel?

5) What foes and allies are likely to be met along the way? Foes - wild beasts, Redland bandits, hostile Pentlanders, Trolls and trollish horrors like Dehori, Gagarthi horsemen, hostile Hsunchen peoples, Chaos bands, Giants, Huan To and their ghoulish hosts, Kralorelan bandits, far-ranging Praxians? Others? Allies - Redlanders, Pentlanders, friendly/benign Hsunchen peoples, Wind People, Kralorelans? Others?

Thanks in advance for any guidance which you can offer. It will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Edited by Evilroddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's my understanding that the caravans end up in Ignorance.  The caravans end up in Jang-Shar (Guide p288).  "In the last century, many strange foreign cults have taken root in Ignorance as a result of the biennial caravan from the Lunar Empire" (Guide p287). Alanthore, a prophet of the Blood Sun from Ignorance, is active in the Redlands while Livia Tarinda, a Lunar Native, is preaching the Bloodheart/Blood Sun/Red Moon in the Eastern Isles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Guide says: Jangi-Shar (large city): This city is the terminus of the famous Etyries Caravan from the Lunar Empire and is an important trade center. Temples to foreign gods, devils, and antigods serve its large foreign population, largely Lunars and Pentans, but even dark trolls can be seen in the city. Maize is grown locally, having been introduced by Lunar missionaries almost a century ago.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Metcalph and M Helsdon:

Thanks for your help in seemingly eliminating the east-southeastern route. I have the G2G and have read that but did not conclude it was the exclusive route. Now I may know better if I get an explicit conformation of the exclusivity of this one destination. I guess I was not clear in my previous posting - my apologies. Is that the only place that the Lunar caravans go? Do they penetrate further south into Kralorela itself? In the Guide it talks about foreigners having to spend a year in defacto quarantine in the south (Lur Nop) if they arrive by ship but if I remember correctly it mentions somewhere (I can't recall where) that this does not apply to foreigners who come with caravans in the north. Am I mistaken or is this true? If true, does that mean the caravans move south from Jangi-Shar through the Kingdom of Ignorance and into Kralorela proper?

My apologies once again for any lack of clarity I have caused.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Edited by Evilroddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a map of the Lunar Empire-Kralorela trade route on p469 of the Guide.  Hence Jangi-Shar is the endpoint of the caravans.  IMO a Lunar could travel from there to the breadth of Ignorance (join the Black Sect, Hobnob with the Yellow Masked Priests etc) but faces legal problems if he crosses the border into Kralorela.  

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Quote

Thanks for your help in seemingly eliminating the east-southeastern route. I have the G2G and have read that but did not conclude it was the exclusive route. Now I may know better if I get an explicit conformation of the exclusivity of this one destination. I guess I was not clear in my previous posting - my apologies. Is that the only place that the Lunar caravans go? Do they penetrate further south into Kralorela itself?

The caravans seem to terminate there. Smaller parties might attempt to enter Kralorela, but whether they'd succeed is doubtful. The Guide says: As a result of these incursions, they consider all outsiders to be God Learners and deal severely with any intrusions into their realm. Since the Opening, they have kept almost everyone away. The only exception is through the city of Lur Nop.

Even entry at Lur Nop is restricted. Guide: Each barbarian nation has its own enclave, carefully overseen by the mandarins.

So even if they get to Lur Nop, the 'Barbarian Quarter' seems as far as they can get, without disguise and subterfuge.

Edited by M Helsdon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

Disguise and subterfuge 7W.

Sorted.

Doesn't need to be as high as that.  I've read of a European explorer of pre-isolation Japan who travelled for several weeks disguised as a Samurai with a Japanese Christian to act as a guide and servant.  Another was a European priest who pretended to be an Imperial Official so he could enter a prison to give the last rites to an imprisoned Christian.  Both these subterfuges worked despite both Europeans being unable to speak much Japanese.

Edited by metcalph
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Metcalph:

Thank you for the reference from Vol. II of the Guide. I had missed that one! 

M Helsdon:

OK. I guess they will stay in the Kingdom of Ignorance as they winter over in the East. No Kralorela for the party unless they wish to gamble their lives on covert penetration and travel.

Iskallor:

LOL!  Alas, I run a RuneQuest II/III game so 7W is sort of irrelevant. The PC's look nothing like Kraloreli nor do they speak the language, so I think they will fall short on the disguise and subterfuge spectrum. 

So, does anyone have any ideas about the other questions in my OP?

Thanks to all for your generous guidance.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, metcalph said:

Doesn't need to be as high as that.  I've read of a European explorer of pre-isolation Japan who travelled for several weeks disguised as a Samurai with a Japanese Christian to act as a guide and servant.  Another was a European priest who pretended to be an Imperial Official so he could enter a prison to give the last rites to an imprisoned Christian.  Both these subterfuges worked despite both Europeans being unable to speak much Japanese.

My character is a baboon.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/31/2016 at 3:34 PM, Evilroddy said:

1) Are these caravans homogeneous groups specifically created by the Molari-Sor Clan and run by Redlands agents, guides and guards? Or are they more heterogeneous corporations of independent Etyries and Lokarnos merchant houses which band together under the banner of the Molari-Sor Clan? Can Argan Argar and Issaries merchants participate in some capacity?

2) Do these caravans hire unaffiliated mercenary guards or are they guarded by Redlanders and the private guards of the merchant houses involved?

From GtG, we know this of the Etyries Caravan:

Lunar agents take the redheaded children of Pent back to the Oraya Satrapy. The children are reared by the Emperor’s household, taught the Lunar religion, and trained to become the caravaneers of the famous Etyries Caravan, called the Red Hair Tribe by the nomads.... The Red Hair Tribe is the Lunar Emperor’s eyes and ears in Pent. They are well-versed in the Lunar Way (in particular the Etyries cult) and are trusted agents of the Empire. The Etyries Caravan has made them fabulously wealthy and given them great economic power in the Heartland. And yet, the Red Hair Tribe remains kinsmen to the nomads.

Also see under Pent in GtG p.372 under Uncommon Events in the Regional Activity table: Etyries Caravan hiring warriors among the tribes; opportunity to travel to Peloria or Kralorela.

My conclusions from this short bit are:

1) the merchants are a homogenous group as they are all red-haired, born in Pent, and they all follow Etyries.  No Lokarnos, no Argan Argar, no Issaries.  And they are wealthy

2) they do hire others as guards for the caravan, probably Redlanders normally, but occasionally nomads (who would certainly not be red-haired).

On 8/31/2016 at 3:34 PM, Evilroddy said:

What foes and allies are likely to be met along the way? Foes - wild beasts, Redland bandits, hostile Pentlanders, Trolls and trollish horrors like Dehori, Gagarthi horsemen, hostile Hsunchen peoples, Chaos bands, Giants, Huan To and their ghoulish hosts, Kralorelan bandits, far-ranging Praxians? Others? Allies - Redlanders, Pentlanders, friendly/benign Hsunchen peoples, Wind People, Kralorelans? Others?

Wild beasts, Redland bandits, trolls and trollish horrors, Gagarthi - definitely

Chaos bands - probably

From Anaxial's Roster: Steppe eagle of Pent, griffins (who love horse meat), alynx, wild horses, wild donkeys, bison (southern Pent), reindeer (northern Pent), mastodon (far, presumably north Pent), sable antelope (probably southern Pent), Leaping Bear (Leaping bears are tiger-sized animals with dark-furred ursine bodies and dog-like heads and tails), arctic/white fox, clouded leopard, fell wolves, Quenlarg (in northern Pent: Quenlarg are large, burrowing creatures that are widespread but rare throughout northern Genertela. They have worm-like bodies fifteen feet or more in length, with segmented bluish-gray armor), headhangers (a chaotic horror), and river nymphs.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 01/09/2016 at 7:34 AM, Evilroddy said:

2) Do these caravans hire unaffiliated mercenary guards or are they guarded by Redlanders and the private guards of the merchant houses involved?

There is a reference in the Fortunate Succession to Kastok's Lance protecting the caravans.  Unfortunately that's about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Evilroddy, I think very little has been written about this.  I'm not sure, as I often am with questions like this, whether you want to know about canon texts, fan texts, extrapolations from them, or unpublished ideas.  You've read the canon texts and I don't remember any articles except a few in the Pent blog A Land Fit For Heroes And Their Horses.

I spent some time thinking about a campaign where the PCs are Red Hair tribe members.  (The campaign premise is clan survival during the Hero Wars.)  So here are some MGWV answers from that.

1. Caravans are run by Redhairs.  The Molari-Sor tell the Redhairs what to ship, take profits, and audit the books, but they don't do operations management.  90% of caravan participants are Redhairs.  Merchants and others can book an escorted passage for themselves and/or goods for a price.  Etyries Redhairs manage the caravan logistics.  The other important Redhair cults are Sun Horse, Moon Mare (I'm happy to use Sons of Kargzant as a starting point for those two), and YA.  It feels more fun and wild to say that the terrain is too rough and unpredictable for wagons, so that the Lokarnos cult is not involved.

2. Caravan security is all Redhairs.  A passenger could also book passage for their own guards if they wanted.

3. YA cultists are essential to caravan security.  They're all devotees and are called horse eaters.  They ride camels and wear a wooden shoulder harness called the effigy of the horse eater consisting of a headpiece and an extra pair of arms in a ritual pose.  If there's trouble from Pentans they can dismount, heroform YA, and use running and other combat magic.  They are something like 5% of the adult caravan population.  I think they also have magic to improve Lunar magic outside the glowline, but I'd have to think harder about whether and why they do or don't perform that function in other Lunar frontier areas.

4. In my concept there are many smaller caravans rather than one huge one.  100-200 people each, maybe.  (The numbers partly depend on whether the Redhairs ever raise their own children, which I'm not sure about - but if they do, the children travel with the caravan.)  For one thing, small caravans set up the PCs in my campaign concept to have their own mobile clan.  And I forget the details, but Pent is small enough that I think you can run many more than one caravan per year.  Caravans mostly go to Ignorance rather than the Iron Forts because it's easier: there's better grazing along the way and they're better at fighting Pentans than Praxians and Hsunchen.  The maps show a valley north of the Iron Forts and maybe they try to use it sometimes, but I think  it has Hsunchen and other interesting hazards.

I think maybe they use barges that they maintain on the Sirdaryo River.  That would mean that in addition to clans that run caravans end-to-end, there are clans dedicated to carrying freight along each of the legs from Palbar to Sirdaryo, down the Sirdaryo, and from Hot Lake to Ignorance.  The clans are more flexible than that implies, though.  A clan can get reassigned to different roles, and individuals or families can get reassigned to different caravans, or ask to be.  So the caravans are as much like businesses as clans.

A couple spin-off adventure ideas based on trade routes are:
* For some reason you need to route a trade route through Palbar Senbar.  That's roughly the premise of the Frog God megadungeon Slumbering Tsar, so that module could be what Palbar Senbar is.
* Your quest is to find a northern, naval trade route to Ignorance.  Nobody knows what's up there or whether it's navigable.  Previous expeditions have been blocked by [ice or other reason].

In Ignorance I think caravans mostly end at Jangi-Shar.  A foreign merchant can apply to buy a permit to travel through Ignorance or a more expensive and restrictive one to continue into Kralorela.  Redhairs might escort such a merchant for a price, but usually only through Ignorance.  Jangi-Shar has a large foreign quarter and a Lunar embassy called the Moon Base which is also the Redhair compound, together with grazing lands outside of town.  The Kralorelan embassy in Palbar is called the Dragon Tower (or something) and is separate from the western Redhair compound, which is called the Stables.

5. Your encounter ideas are as good as mine.  I think there are also spirits, weather, and sometimes terrain changes that force trade paths to be rerouted.

Pentans do attack caravans sometimes, but the Redhairs defend themselves from other Pentans through agreements, allies, trade, tribute, and the threat of their own defenses.  The published texts also imply that the Pentans might have accepted some kind of treaty after the Nights of Horror, so there might be some kind of ritual bond in play as well.  I think the way it works is that the Pentans are mostly organized into clear groups who control known territories, so it's not usually practical to raid a caravan without it turning into a declaration of war.  At any given time the Redhair trade routes run through the territories of a certain number of Pentan tribes, and relations might be poor or hostile with one or more of them.  That's one situation where caravans might add extra security, negotiating for it from allied tribes when traveling near hostile ones.
 

Edited by Roko Joko
Palbar/Senbar
  • Like 3

What really happened?  The only way to discover that is to experience it yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! There is great information here. Lots for me to think about. 

My initial idea was that the caravan would be run by Red-Hairs and that attached to the caravan would be other smaller merchants tagging along for protection and guidance. The Molari-Sor have sent a small merchant group with a capable but ultimately potentially expendable member of the family to oversee the caravan. Three Red-Hair merchant houses form the core of the caravan and one house in particular is in charge of the caravan. This is augmented by smaller merchant houses, one Orayan and two from First Blessed. In addition there are two Lokarnos merchant houses from Yutthuppa and Good Shore participating. Finally there are some few independent merchants tagging along. All non-Red-Hair merchant houses and merchants must agree to pay a fee dependent on the value of their cargo and also agree to a one-way profit sharing scheme as well. The Red-Hairs provide all of the mounted scouts, guides and about 70% of the mounted guards. The other merchants provide about 30% of the mounted guards and all of the foot guards for the caravan. Additional guards, scouts or escorts are recruited from local Pentlanders as the caravan passes through their areas of influence. Adventurers, travellers, and others make up about 2% of the caravan. The caravan has about 90 heavy wagons with six-horse teams, an equal number of two-horse carts and about 600 pack animals including sables, mules and horses. There are about 60 heavy cavalry of Red-Hair stock and about 140 light skirmishing cavalry of Red-Hairs. There are also about 80 cavalry provided by the other merchants (20 HAC, 30 MC and 30 LC). There are also about 120 foot guards mostly LHI and LMI. Foot guards are about 50% missile troops and about 50% spear armed melee troops. There is a small contingent of powerful magical specialists.

Thus the caravan has approximately 90 wagons, 90 carts, 1400 draft and pack animals, 300 military mounts, 1200 food animals, and about 1300 people in the caravan. The Red-Hairs have also hired two giants (10M and 7M) as heavy lifting capacity for un-bogging carts and wagons, clearing obstacles, to provide longer range heavy missile capability and to generally intimidate potential foes.

Thanks to all above for your ideas and suggestions. I will now begin to rethink the caravan and make appropriate changes.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Edited by Evilroddy
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/2/2016 at 4:51 AM, Evilroddy said:

Thus the caravan has approximately 90 wagons, 90 carts, 1400 draft and pack animals, 300 military mounts, 1200 food animals, and about 1300 people in the caravan. The Red-Hairs have also hired two giants (10M and 7M) as heavy lifting capacity for un-bogging carts and wagons, clearing obstacles, to provide longer range heavy missile capability and to generally intimidate potential foes.

Thanks to all above for your ideas and suggestions. I will now begin to rethink the caravan and make appropriate changes.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

That would be probably the smallest caravan.  The Guide to Glorantha pg. 316:  This train of several thousand pack animals departs every other year from Palbar, travels across Pent to the northern reaches of Kralorela, and returns the next year, laden with decadent luxuries, such as silk and spices.

Perhaps you should triple your initial figures.

I'd dump the wagons and carts.  I doubt Lokarnos is welcome in such a fully Lunar (It's not called the Etyries Caravan for nothing) enterprise.  .

Edited by Pentallion
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Mmmm, that triggers an interesting question: what are Pentan bows made of?

Wood, sinew, horn, glue. A composite bow requires far less wood than a wheel.

3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The problem with wagons across Pent is wheel breakage.  There's no trees to replace them with and far too many places where they'd break.  Much better to rely solely on pack animals for this caravan.

Over rough ground, as there are only tracks across Pent, wagons are going to be far slower than pack animals, probably moving at half the speed or less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...