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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 9 - Dragon Pass

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Dragon Pass section discussion here!

Don't forget Colin Driver's epic maps and the artwork.





One of @Jan Pospisil's early roughs of The Defeat of Starbrow’s Rebellion on page 169.

Edited by David Scott
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You can tell from this chapter that Dragon Pass really is the boiling point of Glorantha. There were 23 pages of stuff about the are called Dragon Pass and what is happening there. All the people of note are major movers of Hero Wars. I like the color drawings made for the Guide. I always visioned Starbrow to look little more ... dangerous. And of course Feathered Horse Queen wears a feathered horse hat. The black horse riders drawing is something I don't show to my kids as I want to sleep at nights.

After all these strong and grand places and people there is the image of the Wild Temple. I have to say the image was rather off-putting. Is the Wild Temple described in more detail in a publication?

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7 hours ago, jrutila said:

Is the Wild Temple described in more detail in a publication?

The illustration is from Masters of Luck and Death page 63. It's illustrated as part of a Hero Band, the Servants of the Wild. Personally, I'd ignore the hero band and use the main Heortling Mythology page 48, as it provides more detail on the White Spider Practice. The Dragon Pass Gazeteer has a William Church illustration of the Temple and a report an a ceremony there.

Here are the links to the references. the last two are in the vault and are cheap.




Edited by David Scott
added link to references
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4 hours ago, metcalph said:

p168  Pteranosaurs!  The first mention of flying dinosaurs I have seen in a while.

This is the first time I see the term pteranosaur - when checking on google, it asked me whether I meant pterosaurs. I had been considering this for the errata thread.

Dragon Pass had these critters as pteranodons, the mystical recovery of minimal draconic virtues for the fallen dragonewts. It is a pity that their transformation myth (spinning a cocoon, something like an ersatz-egg, to emerge as a flying entity) hasn't been in an official publication since Dragon Pass.


Telling how it is excessive verbis


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The Defeat of Starbrow's Rebellion - a very strong image.  Kallyr looking away in seeming loathing of the whole event.  Hofstaring surrendering the sword, presumably moments before his hands are taken.  Fazzur's almost casual disdain for the rebels.  The Feathered Horse Queen - calm, and you wonder what she's plotting (plus a great headdress!).  And then sinister Lunar wizards - you can picture one of these advising Kangharl or other Lunar lackeys in your own game.

"Even the Lunars do not dare to interfere with some of the entities of the Pass, such as the Red Dragon or Ethilrist, Lord of the Black Horse Troop, and persons living within the domains of these entities are free to prepare for war if they choose." - hadn't really thought before about living in the shadow, so to speak, of the Red Dragon, but Ormsgone Vale is quite large.  Suggests there's a few remote corners of Dragon Pass that haven't really been expanded on.

Feathered Horse Queen - one of the first places to really emphasize that she is both a powerful Earth priestess and a living spirit of Ernalda.  Surely this must put her in some level of conflict with the Earth Queens of Esrolia.  That she holds the sovereignty of Dragon Pass (from Kero Fin) and not the priestesses of the Shaker Temple, also suggests something of her key position.  Is Single Matron Woman the Cersei Lannister of Dragon Pass?

Serternas the Bright - first place that I think the current count of Vanntar is named.  About what you'd expect for a mercenary commander.

Kings of Dragon Pass - there aren't many.  Therefore, the marriage contest to woo the Feathered Horse Queen cannot be an easy route.  We know a bit about what was required for Sartar to win her hand.  But what will Argrath's Quests be, and how will your heroes aid in those?

Nice picture of Ethilrist.  The Black Horses are not something you want to run across!  (Like their animal skin blankets, too.)

Edited by jajagappa
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Xarjang Vash: "...Xarjang Vash always hated elves, who call him Tree Chopper. He is noted as a poet among his kind as well."

Don't recall his name either, but clearly he knows the Tree Chopping Song.  You can just imagine the inspired poetry that goes with such work:

Uz is hungry, [grunt], uz must chop [grunt]

Bellies empty, [grunt], trees must drop [grunt]

Elves are pesky, [grunt], uz must stop [grunt]

Uz wield axes, [grunt], uz must crop [grunt]

Trees are tasty, [grunt], elves go pop [grunt]

Uz is happy, [belch], uz is full [yawn-burp].


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Places of interest - not really sure which thread this should go to, so decided the collective thread made the most sense.

Love the detailed hex maps that we begin to see here.  p.180 is one of the best views we've had to date of western Dragon Pass (often forgotten about, or just on the edge of view).  Would be interesting to understand more the symbolism of the runes atop the great mountains.

Beast Valley - "dance amid the standing stones of Wild Temple in a bloody and spectacular affair." - What is this event like? Are there sacrifices (and if so, of whom)?  I picture some sort of 'Dionysian' revel with Wild Women and other Beast Men letting 'captured' humans, trolls, or others of the Man Rune 'free' and chasing them down and tearing them apart in some sort of Wild Hunt.  Pity the unfortunate adventurers who don't know better.

Black Eel River - "The lower reaches of this tributary of the Oslir River were haunted by a monstrous Black Eel." Clearly the Black Eel must return at some point during the Hero Wars.  Probably requires that someone break the 'chain' (i.e. the Crystal Bridge) across the river.

Borni's Landing - nothing like having a giant walktapus chained nearby.  One wonders what they use for chains...

Cliffhome (troll city): "A graceful complex of towers tops the tallest peak of the Black Dragon Mountains" - it would be interesting to see these in an illustration some day.  Did Cragspider have the trolls fashion them? Or did the Black Dragon and the dragonewts make them? Or giants?  And then there are the "Miles and miles of pictoglyphs" - what can be learned??

Dragonewt Roads - nice to see the map of these.

Dryad Woods - one of those sites in western Dragon Pass that we really didn't know of before.  With its Wild Immortals and rites of ecstasy, it sounds like another place to be leery of entering.

Dunstop - a "rough and martial" city - good place it seems for exiles and mercenaries to hang out.

Falling Ruins - "Within the ruins lives Elemenoria, the Great Temptress, who can grant wishes for a terrible price." - someone else who I know nothing about.  Who is she? What wishes does she grant, and at what price? Somebody must want to go there and needs adventurers to accompany them.

Forest of Wondrous Beasts: "... famed far beyond Dragon Pass for the many magical animals that reside within its boundaries. It is ruled by a wise Stag Monarch." - another previously unknown place.  Beyond Black Horse County, which undoubtedly discourages access.  If you want an Orlanthi quest to find the Lady of the Wilds, this seems like the place to go.

Grizzly Peak - interesting to learn the God Time history with the slaying of the Sky Bear.

Indigo Mountains - "At the north end of the range lies Sentry Mountain, where stands a 400-foot-tall statue of Karrg, the troll Sentinel, and his Petrified Army" - might have been in Trollpak but I don't recall it.  Will the Petrified Army return in the Hero Wars?  And then there's also the question of how they were petrified in the first place - an elven or dwarven curse? the light of the Rising Sun at the Dawn?

Marof's House - "Earth-king Marofdul, who can be consulted here for oracles" - good to know you don't have to trek to Ezel to find an oracle.

Quintus' Vale - farther west and deeper into Tarsh than I expected, especially given this note: "a fierce nomad army led by the
Opili tribe moved towards Tarsh" and the text in the Redline History noting they came through Garsting and along the Elf Sea and "they penetrated to Imther before being met in pitched battle."  Blame it on different scribes - perhaps the Lunar ones tried to hide the fact that the Opili tribe penetrated further than they did.  Also, given the location in western Tarsh, why were the horse nomads there (bypassing what certainly would be the rich cities)?  The vale leads towards the Sun Wheel Ruins, suggesting the nomads may have hoped to find more valuable treasure or relics there (such as inanimate Gold Wheel Dancers).

Red Dragon Vale - "The First Age Hero Eringulf Vanak Spear lived here until his death at the Battle of Night and Day, and is still worshiped by the local Orlanthi" - for anyone wishing to learn more of Eringulf, this seems like the place to visit.

Royal Roads of Sartar - I like seeing the connections between the roads of Sartar and other strategic roads.  Also, "The roads run in
straight sections, with no curves" - very dwarven, just go over or cut through whatever is in the way.  What got overlaid in the process?

Runegate - "magical stone lintel the city founders brought from the Holy Country" - hadn't really though about it before, but this could be an important piece in a quest to restore the God-king of the Holy Country.

Traveling Stone: - "This magical altar to Larnste, the God of Movement, is usually found..." - but implied is the "not always".  I wonder how far it may travel to?  Does it go as far as Larnste's Table to visit there?

Edited by jajagappa
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