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To the wise Magi of Glorantha:

I need counsel and help for my campaign. Well, the party, or more accurately what's left of it, has returned from crossing Pent with the Red Hair Lunar caravan (great adventures there by the way) and are now hellbent on travelling to Talastar and Dorastor to continue their adventures. They've got it into their group-mind that they are now destined to begin west-faring  in preparation for bigger ritual things to come and want to fight chaos and then cross the Kartolin Pass to travel across Railos and the Korions. One player character is an Orlanthi Rune Lord who is a fugitive from Lunar law in Sartar, the Far Point and Pavis County as well as having run afoul of the "authorities" in Balazar. Another is a Vingan on the cusp of becoming a Red Woman (Rune Lady) but she has kept her nose cleaner and while not popular with Lunar authorities, she is not yet wanted by Lunars anywhere. The third established PC is a powerful Yelmalio Horse Archer and duellist who has earned the enmity of some powerful Lunar persons, but has not broken any laws per se. One replacement PC is now playing a Pentan adventurer who wants to see the world and unbeknownst to the rest of the party is scouting out the Lunar empire on her own initiative for military intelligence purposes. The last replacement PC is a sort of Kingdom of Ignorance knight-errant/ronin who has taken up common cause with the PCs, but is just along for the ride. The NPCs in the party include a Sword Sage of Lhankor Mhy (senior initiate) and an Issaries Golden Tongue (senior initiate) and both are not wanted by the Lunars but have a bad track record in the cordial relations department.

The party plan to ride from the eastern fringes of the Oraya Sultanate southwest across the Lunar Heartland. They will skirt south around the southern tip of the Hungry Plateau through very rough territory and then cross the heart of Yelmic and Lunar civilisations. They intend to cross Sylilia and then Larkene until they arrive at the Kingdom of Bilini. The party has been away for almost two years serving as caravan guards and generally acquitted themselves well with the red haired masters. They intend to avoid population centres while traversing the Lunar heartland but will be within the Glowline and the arcane perception of the Lunar Godess and her followers.

So my question is how likely can a party of politically hostile but passive Lightbringers cross the heart of the Lunar empire without running afoul of Lunar magical and spiritual defences, if they are disguised, circumspect and furtive in their crossing? They all but one speak some Pelorian and two are quite fluent speakers. They are flush with money, so need not rob and pilfer their way across the Lunar Empire. Given that clan wyters can detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands does the Lunar empire have magical and/or spiritual mechanisms for detecting aliens crossing its territory remotely or must it rely upon military patrols and interrogation of intercepted foreigners to secure its sovereignty?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and input.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

Edited by Evilroddy
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If they get caught, the Empire IMO is most likely to... condemn them to fight chaos in Dorastor.  Which is where they are planning on going.

The easiest thing for them to do would be to surrender to the authorities in Oraya, humiliate themselves before a priest of Yelm, pay a huge fine and meekly accept a sentence to Dorastor.  They can then travel through the Empire with a suitable guard and papers.

But of course being Orlanthi adventurers, that is the last thing they'll think of doing.  Let them travel their foolish route of subterfuge and disguises.  Throw numerous obstacles in their path (a suspicious official, a Bat visit etc) with a 50/50 chance of getting caught.  Introduce an antagonist who has caught wind of them and is seeking their arrest.  As they travel deeper into their Empire, their pursuer becomes even more of an onimous threat.  And when they are just about to leave Sylila, they get arrested.  After a show-trial, they are fined heavily with much of the fine going to their pursuer and condemned to Dorastor.

 

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Find someone sufficiently high in the Lunar hierarchy to warrant a bodyguard and convince that person that she has urgent business near Dorastor, then act as the bodyguard.

Or for way more fun, enlist as dart competition black ops team in exchange for passage.

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Have them attract the interest of an influential Seventhed troubleshooter who smooths over all the ructions that they get embroiled in with paranoid patrols and indignant magistrates, but keeps following them to attempt to convince them that their westfaring will ultimately depend upon them making their peace with the Red Goddess rather than with the Emperor! 

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Oh, wise magi:

Some great ideas and I thank you for them. I may incorporate some of them in to the passage. 

However my key question has not been addressed and that's my fault for not making it clear enough. The answer to the question will shape the passage narrative strongly. So I will ask it again:

9 hours ago, Evilroddy said:

Given that clan wyters can detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands does the Lunar empire have magical and/or spiritual mechanisms for detecting aliens crossing its territory remotely or must it rely upon military patrols and interrogation of intercepted foreigners to secure its sovereignty?

The ability or inability of the Lunars to detect and track the party will determine whether the party can successfully avoid problems over and above the encounters that would normally occur for any party moving through the region. I should point out that two party-members have in their possession magic items which the Lunars would likely confiscate if they became aware of the item's presence, so party stealth and evasion will be key to a successful transit. I need to get your opinions; can the Lunars detect by magical or spiritual means small parties of non-Lunars moving through their heartland territory?

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

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Oh, wise Magus Byll:

In reading your post I noticed something which has been staring me in the face but has gone unnoticed by me for quite a while. You mentioned a "seventhed" illuminate as a guide towards Dorastor for the party. Dorastor made me think of Ralzakark which made me think of broo which in turn made me think of Thed. Then I saw it in a blinding flash of mini-revelation. "Seventhed", is it seventh-ed or seven-thed and thus Seven-Thed! More searing insight into the insidious corruption of Nysalor/Gbaji and possibly the influence of Ralzakark? Enquiring minds want to know! Have I just solved a Nysalor riddle posed by the Magus Byll and seen a glimpse of my seventh soul or my inner broo, or both

Cheers and good gaming?

Evilroddy.

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On 7/13/2017 at 5:25 AM, Evilroddy said:

... my inner broo ... ? 

:blink: ... you have an inner broo?

Y'know, son... ya gotta get that thing out afore it hatches...

 

Edited by g33k
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The detection by the Clan Wyters is an Orlanthi magic. I don't think that Dara Happan or Lodrili magics work the same way.

For one point, the definition of a Lodrili clan is much more open than that of a Heortling clan. As generations proceed, family branches either have to marry back in, or go separate ways, possibly leaving the place.

Another major factor is that Dara Happans will think about protecting their cities rather than protecting their pastures etc. - expect interaction with guards at city gates, or at toll stations on major roads or river stops, but don't expect patrols against cattle raiders.

Do Lodrili clans even have sovereignty over their clan lands, or do they rent these lands from Dara Happan landholder nobility? And given the composition of the Lunar Empire, what exactly defines a foreigner? We All Are Us.

Having a Lunar figurehead going through all the troubles with documentation etc. would be easiest. Think how the Firefly crew used Inara to awe the officials, or to have a reason to land at a Feds-operated port.

Your Wind Lord doesn't bear any permanent mark as criminal before Lunar laws, does he? A branding might attract all kinds of persecution, but if he managed to avoid capture, how would Lunar authorities even have learned about his malfeasance in the furthest corner of the Empire?

 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Another major factor is that Dara Happans will think about protecting their cities rather than protecting their pastures etc. - expect interaction with guards at city gates, or at toll stations on major roads or river stops, but don't expect patrols against cattle raiders.

This brings up the interesting-to-me notion that there may be some interesting Dara Happan variant on the Issaries "Market Peace" / Pavis "City Peace" spells ... 

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12 hours ago, Evilroddy said:

However my key question has not been addressed and that's my fault for not making it clear enough. The answer to the question will shape the passage narrative strongly. So I will ask it again:

Quote

Given that clan wyters can detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands does the Lunar empire have magical and/or spiritual mechanisms for detecting aliens crossing its territory remotely or must it rely upon military patrols and interrogation of intercepted foreigners to secure its sovereignty?

Clan Wyters no longer have the ability to detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands.  They can only do so on sacred clan lands.

One could argue that the Glowline will function as a wyter of some sort but in my opinion, it will only let people know whether enemies of the Goddess have crossed the Glowline, their numbers and rough power but not their exact whereabouts within.   The Temple of the Reaching Moon receives a report and dispatches messengers to the appropriate authorities to take action.  Given how wide the Glowline border is, it will take some time before the message receives the local authorities and their response depends on the perceived threat (a horde of a thousand Pentans will be acted on - one or two Orlanthi not so much IMO).

 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

The detection by the Clan Wyters is an Orlanthi magic. I don't think that Dara Happan or Lodrili magics work the same way.

The focal points for DH magics are likely the temples as those are the proper and ordered representation of the world.  So if they enter a temple, they'll be detected as Disorder and Rebels.

18 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Clan Wyters no longer have the ability to detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands.  They can only do so on sacred clan lands.

There's no all enveloping warding that signals that hostile folk have crossed into territory X.  On Orlanthi grounds, it is only the tula which are the sacred grounds (e.g. the Guardian Woods, Orane's Loom, parts of Old Man Village for the Orlmarth clan).  In Lunar/DH lands, it would be the temples or perhaps the cities (where there are deities who help ensure City Order or City Harmony).  In the latter, the presence of such Disorder or Rebels might even cause or be considered the presence of Disease that must be uncovered and removed.

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On 7/13/2017 at 3:43 AM, Evilroddy said:

So my question is how likely can a party of politically hostile but passive Lightbringers cross the heart of the Lunar empire without running afoul of Lunar magical and spiritual defences, if they are disguised, circumspect and furtive in their crossing? They all but one speak some Pelorian and two are quite fluent speakers. They are flush with money, so need not rob and pilfer their way across the Lunar Empire. Given that clan wyters can detect the presence of foreigners on clan lands does the Lunar empire have magical and/or spiritual mechanisms for detecting aliens crossing its territory remotely or must it rely upon military patrols and interrogation of intercepted foreigners to secure its sovereignty?

Get them to jump on a boat. They can travel along the Black Eel River, from Balazar, up to the Oslir River to Alkoth, then down the Erinflarth to Dorastor.

If they pay enough, they might even be able to get a small ship that is enclosed. Dress in robes and wear masks for religious reasons, seclude themselves for some ritual and that gets around being seen. 

It might not be the most exciting adventure, though ...

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On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 3:43 AM, Evilroddy said:

So my question is how likely can a party of politically hostile but passive Lightbringers cross the heart of the Lunar empire without running afoul of Lunar magical and spiritual defences

Find a noble house advertising for Dart Competition mercenaries, and try to be recruited to act as bodyguards for a noble travelling in the desired direction... There may of course be assassination attempts, and all sorts of other interesting events, but Pelorians are used to seeing all sorts of weird outlanders serving as mercenaries.

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Thank you to you all for your input and counsel. It seems that the Lunar Empire possesses no means to magically or spiritually track foreigners who enter or traverse Lunar territory so long as those foreigners avoid temples, large towns, cities and holy places. So it is feasible for the party to attempt this. They intend to avoid all population centres and will stick to rural areas as much as possible. Crossing major rivers might be the one time they will have to approach centres of civilisation during their crossing. 

As to the encounters and the sources of jeopardy they will face during the crossing I have plans for the party, but such plans would have been mooted if the Lunar "AWACS" infrastructure could have pick up their presence and tracked their progress reliably. Some of my players check out this site on occasion so I will not delineate the nature of the perils which may face the travellers but sufficed to say this transit will not be a cake walk for our neophyte, west-faring trekkers.

Cheers and good gaming.

Evilroddy.

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3 hours ago, Evilroddy said:

... It seems that the Lunar Empire possesses no means to magically or spiritually track foreigners who enter or traverse ...

Say rather, no means to auto-detect them...  If someone actively searches, specifically for them, they might well be magically track'able ...

 

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14 hours ago, Evilroddy said:

It seems that the Lunar Empire possesses no means to magically or spiritually track foreigners who enter or traverse Lunar territory so long as those foreigners avoid temples, large towns, cities and holy places. So it is feasible for the party to attempt this. They intend to avoid all population centres and will stick to rural areas as much as possible. Crossing major rivers might be the one time they will have to approach centres of civilisation during their crossing. 

Certainly feasible.  Of course, magical ceremonies and rituals in certain areas may well 'pull' such foreigners into active engagements.  E.g. as they seek to skirt past or through Raibanth on Fireday, they find that they are inextricably drawn by Yelm (or forcibly detained by the Sons of Yelm) who has detected the presence of Disorder in the Realm and is sentencing the Rebel Gods to be named for what they are and cast into the Pits (ala the scenario in Pavis:GtA).

They will certainly need to find a place to cross the Oslir whether bridge (only at major cities such as Raibanth, Alkoth, Jillaro, or Mirin's Cross) or ferry (such as at Good Shore).

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Magical detection of enemies is likely focused on traditional foes - the presence of a Pentan in the party may be more problematic than the presence of an Orlanthi in many areas!

 

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10 hours ago, Tim Ellis said:

the presence of a Pentan in the party may be more problematic than the presence of an Orlanthi in many areas!

Certainly Yara Aranis will be on the lookout for horse nomads, particularly in proximity to her temples.

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It's important to note that population density isn't the same as we are likely used to here. Travelling across country by known "roads" will likely have the occasional traveller or merchant. It's a trade / info opportunity. If they skirt / village and towns its not really going to be a problem. What will draw attention to them is when they arrive looking like strangers in a backwater. Every is going to be interested - it's something new (If you've watched the BBCs adaption of Cranford you'll know what I mean). Most of these places aren't militarised and central authority is likely distant. Money, gifts and being polite are likely to get you a long way. So it's a question of how far do you let them get before word gets to someone that strangers are crossing the land. Eventually someone will take notice and maybe investigate. or as @metcalph says, fall afoul of some local rule. Unless they cause trouble they could in theory make it across. But where's the fun in that. Have a look at Pavis; GtA. The main adventure is about how useful orlanthi can be to the Lunars - for ritual purposes. Replace the salt mines with dorastor and you are sorted. 

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Well, I think a lot depends on which system you use.  If you are using HQ, then they will be detected quickly, as a Lunar can cast as many spells as they like without consequence.  If RQ where magic is more structured, then they are less likely to be detected.

Let's focus on RQ.  Now if they are traveling with overt cult runes that won't go well.  If they get into frequent squabbles and start fights they are more likely to get detected, obviously.  If they keep their heads down and keep some distance from the locals, they will have better chances, on the other hand, elements of the Spoken Word will take an interest them if they stop at the regulation Lunar Caravanserai along the way, because that is the Spoken Word's job.  If the Word discover their destination is Redlands to Ralios via Dorastor, they are likely to lose interest, after all, Lightbringers on a non-Empire related suicide mission are just doing the Empire's work for them.

The campaign is a big road trip.  Sort of Heart of Darkness in reverse?  Heart of Lightness?  Returning from the ultimate wilderness, the party is going into the heart of the civilized world where light cults flourish on an unwitting path to "Col. Kurtz and illumination".  This can be played in so many ways, like a huge smorgasboard of possibilities, with each session potentially like another course in an elaborate travel/food/show region by region banquet.  There is the opportunity to build up stereotypes and then smash them, destroying player's preconceptions and pushing them towards illumination.  Comedy, tragedy, combat, opportunity, crime, bureaucracy, before they are finally fed to the Crimson Bat after they took the wrong turn at Rinliddi.

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

It's important to note that population density isn't the same as we are likely used to here. Travelling across country by known "roads" will likely have the occasional traveller or merchant. It's a trade / info opportunity. If they skirt / village and towns its not really going to be a problem. What will draw attention to them is when they arrive looking like strangers in a backwater. Every is going to be interested - it's something new (If you've watched the BBCs adaption of Cranford you'll know what I mean). Most of these places aren't militarised and central authority is likely distant. Money, gifts and being polite are likely to get you a long way. So it's a question of how far do you let them get before word gets to someone that strangers are crossing the land. Eventually someone will take notice and maybe investigate. or as @metcalph says, fall afoul of some local rule. Unless they cause trouble they could in theory make it across. But where's the fun in that. Have a look at Pavis; GtA. The main adventure is about how useful orlanthi can be to the Lunars - for ritual purposes. Replace the salt mines with dorastor and you are sorted. 

As I said in another thread (and in another context):

Foreigners are problematic in every society. They are outside the caste structure, causing constant offense, and subject to whatever protections the local talars grants. In a place like Noloswal, they have extensive protection and are even allowed their barbaric religious practice within designated polluted areas. In a place like   Leplain, I suspect foreigners need to be much more circumspect (or under the direct protection of the king).

Even though the specifics are different in Peloria, the general thrust is the same. Foreigners are rebels, barbarians, and pollutants. The Orlanthi are pernicious foreigners who stubbornly refuse to become "not-foreign" (which is really quite easy to do - just incorporate the Red Moon into your pantheon). There are places where the Red Emperor has placed all foreigners under his protection (or at least under the protection of a temple), and there are specific foreigners who travel under the protection of the Red Emperor (or some less powerful notable), but foreigners who go outside of that protection are on their own.

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15 hours ago, Darius West said:

Well, I think a lot depends on which system you use.  If you are using HQ, then they will be detected quickly, as a Lunar can cast as many spells as they like without consequence.

I have to challenge this a bit. If you are using HQ you don't have to care about how many times a Lunar can cast a spell (Lunars are NPC here, right?). It all depends on the story!

What emphasis you like to put on the crossing? Is there any interesting adventures waiting if they don't make it (probably)? If the crossing is just to get to the target, but failing would produce interesting subplot, you can go with group simple contest. If failing would not produce anything interesting it is an automatic success. If this crossing is emotionally important, for example they have been preparing and building the tension for this trip, you can go with group extendend contest. If you want the trip to be an adventure on its own for multiple sessions, bring out the encounter tables and draw some encounters there and make them work their way through Lunar lands dodging Lunars and trackers etc.

I think HQ has nothing to do with the opposition spell casting abilities. But as this discussion is on Glorantha as a setting forum I will end my off-topic here.

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1 hour ago, jrutila said:

I have to challenge this a bit. If you are using HQ you don't have to care about how many times a Lunar can cast a spell (Lunars are NPC here, right?). It all depends on the story!

 

HQ lacks granularity on this point.  Whereas in RQ there is a natural limit built into the game mechanics by limiting magic points, in HQ by comparison you have to rely on GM fiat to say, "you can't keep casting the spell because I say so".  Because GM fiat is really what you mean when you say "it all depends on the story".  I think that is too authoritarian a style of play for my liking.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

HQ lacks granularity on this point.  Whereas in RQ there is a natural limit built into the game mechanics by limiting magic points, in HQ by comparison you have to rely on GM fiat to say, "you can't keep casting the spell because I say so".  Because GM fiat is really what you mean when you say "it all depends on the story".  I think that is too authoritarian a style of play for my liking.

HeroQuest doesn't actually limit  repeat actions, except augments. In my games players often repeatedly cast magic, they normally stop as they've won or been knocked out of the contest or circumstances change. You've either played in some oddly GMd games, not played HeroQuest or not understood the rules (or maybe not read them?). As HeroQuest is very player driven and the answer to any contest is yes, but... I've never seen the authoritarianism you speak of. For a better understanding of the system, I'd suggest Robin Laws' other books - Hamlet's Hit Points, Hillfolk and of course Sharper Adventures in HeroQuest Glorantha.

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