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Questions about the Lunar gods and the first Moonson


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On 4/8/2018 at 5:03 AM, Runeblogger said:

3. The first Lunar Emperor was a powerful and reckless heroquester, he even managed to stole Orlanth's chariot (!!!). I wonder how he managed to do it. Was he illuminated and so infiltrated the cult of Orlanth to get the secrets of his myths and then performed some orlanthi heroquest? Or did he stole Orlanth's chariot in some Solar or Lunar myth? If the latter, what kind of myth may that have been?

Doskalos prior to becoming the Emperor was not a Yelmic heroquester, but primarily one who drew on various Lunar and Solar paths (that I suspect cross over where her is concerned). The various Dara Happan solar cults interacted enough with The Heortlings that there could easily be a myth he used to steal Orlanths Chariot (for example, there is a Jagrekiand smashes the chariot wheels quest). I'm sure he was Illuminated pretty early in his career, but don't think that is necessary to act against a traditional enemy. 

As the a Warlord, Emperor of the Dara Happans, and also son of the moon, he may have (at least initially) drawn on the myths of Urvairainus, who is likewise a warlord, Emperor of Dara Happa, and the son of the Moon goddess (in her human incarnation as the representative of Merinita, and later mythically as Gerra. 

I think Doskalos dies at Castle Blue and returns as TakenEgi, and is then later Emperor. As TakenEgi, he is something more. He is part of a group consciousness. I personally believe that usually this form of magic requires Illumination for it to happen without those involved become insane. 

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This thread really reminds me that, as much as I love the whole Lunar affair, we really need a sourcebook that gives a thorough overview of the Lunar pantheon and its ways. It is very difficult for newcomers - or I would venture to guess even relatively experienced adepts - to get a handle on the details of the Lunar side of things in a way that allows you to bring them into play, comprehensively and coherently, while trying to cleave to existing canon. We don't really have anything that allows you do that as you can, say, do for the Orlanthi (or maybe even the Westerners, and they haven't really even been a main focus).

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Getting a grip on the Lunars is hard, as they work only in connection with the multitude of Pelorian local cultures and pantheons. They have followed everywhere where Dara Happan administrators supervise the population, which is pretty much all lowland Peloria.

A rather complete set of stories about the Red Goddess, her mortal experience, her big quests, her enemies, and her successors in Peloria might be a good start, and given that there are several novellas or stories by Greg that have been circulated to very small audiences or read at conventions, that should be possible. I realize that few of those stories will be finalized, but I would be fine reading what is there in sidebars next to more factual descriptions of the Goddess, her religion, and her foes.

Presenting mystical world view in a way that allows people to grasp it and play it is a lot harder, as the preceding discussion in this thread shows. To directly worship the Red Goddess you must be mystically awakened, "sevened" in their own terms, "illuminated" in Cults of Terror terminology.

Providing spell lists and cyclical magic effects is not that big a deal, but conveying what the deeper Lunar mythology wants to bring about is almost as bad as trying to predict dragonewt behavior.

For instance, how much is the Lunar Empire instrumental or necessary for the goals of the Goddess? Has it already fulfilled its purpose? There are devout worshippers of the Goddess and her pantheon outside of the Empire who have little track with the Red Emperor and his decrees.That might mean that they are missing out on something important, but it might also mean that those living inside the Empire might miss out on important insights those non-imperial Lunar worshippers might have.


There are other manuscripts, like stuff about the Lunar army, with adventures you may experience should you have joined. Even without the subcultitis of the Hero Wars era, stuff like this will have to deal with regimental deities, homeland customs of the place of origin for the unit, etc.

The Champions of the Red Moon supplement was a valiant attempt to give some impression of interlocking interests of an association in the Empire. But again, too many subcults, too many obscure and not really player friendly groups, and no real direction where a campaign inside that structure could go. And of course no information on the setting where all of these branches would be active.

That supplement had a massive information overload, too many characters to follow - easily more than the number @Ian Cooper kept in his Red Cow campaign. But any realistic campaign anywhere near the Silver Shadow would easily have more than 120 major families with agendas of their own, networks of alliances, etc. Keeping track of those requires a mind like Varys from Game of Thrones.

Since that publication, the Guide now offers some local detail for the Empire, possibly doubling or tripling the overview the old Genertela Box offered. But each city mentioned in the Guide will have administrators from powerful families from the Tripolis or Glamour, locally powerful families at odds with one another, devout lunatic agitators igoring the politics (and getting snuffed ever now and then, and easily replaced), trade networks, crime, and other local color.

I would love to see one or two of these places elaborated and given a sandbox campaign, but one such project takes several years of work by a single creator, and maybe half that if a group of five coordinates their efforts. A work by any more far-flung committee like Champions of the Red Moon won't provide enough cohesion.


The Stafford Library is not really forthcoming with directly playable stuff about Peloria. The Glorious ReAscent ends with the Battle of Argentium Thri'ile in the Dawn Age, and complicates the "unified Yelm" cult that we had for RQ3. But then that syncretic cult write-up always felt to me like it described an ideal composite cult that wasn't reality anywhere Yelm or one of his cognates were worshipped. The Fortunate Succcession offers a catalog of rulers with a few deeds and events of their reigns - useful historical background, few of which translates into gaming sessions unless you play Dara Happa Stirs in a Second Age campaign. (And try getting the EWF right for that...)

The Entekosiad is the most confusing of the works that deal with Peloria. It offers local myths and history, but fails to provide a coherent overview. We get to know some of the local cultures in the western half of the Empire, and the quest of Valare Addi, which is either too mystical or too scholarly to spawn a game (and look who states that), and set in the first or second wane, in the past.

Some of the unpublished stuff by Greg is even more confusing.


Personally, I would like an official supplement for Lunar Tarsh, which has enough advanced Lunar culture in Furthest to offer a glimpse of what goes on further north, and two very Lunar factions (around Fazzur and Pharandros) badly at odds with one another and with a number of powerful players from the Heartlands (like Tatius). This should keep things relatable.

Putting the Paulis Longvale narrative from Cults of Terror into a campaign sandbox would be another interesting approach from the fringes.


So, getting into the Lunars is problematic if you want to go right into the middle of them, unless you are willing to make up things as you go and to know that you will be contradicted by canon on more than 75% of your creation.

Telling how it is excessive verbis


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I feel like with a modest set of sources, you can get a playable view of Lunar philosophy.  Mythology less so.
* HeroQuest Voices
* Prince of Sartar
* HQG or Pavis: Gateway (or RQG I guess) on the Seven Mothers
* later this year, RQG on illumination and the Red Goddess cult
Modest, but still scattered and not beginner-friendly.

And myself, I would still like to know more about the heartland: New Lunar, Lodrili, and Yelmic gods, with enough information that I could make up reasonable cults for one as a variation on an existing cult writeup; and most of all the Pelorian custom of not initiating.  Culturally, who does initiate and to what gods, and what are the roles and relations of initiates and non-initiates?  Mechanically, do Pelorian non-initiates just "suck"?

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

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15 hours ago, Roko Joko said:


And myself, I would still like to know more about the heartland: New Lunar, Lodrili, and Yelmic gods, with enough information that I could make up reasonable cults for one as a variation on an existing cult writeup; and most of all the Pelorian custom of not initiating.  Culturally, who does initiate and to what gods, and what are the roles and relations of initiates and non-initiates?  Mechanically, do Pelorian non-initiates just "suck"?

Just keep watching this space.

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There is plenty of detail lacking about the Lunars that, as a GM, I'd like to know. Historical details of the First wane, many important questions about Lunar myth that aren't well documented, etc. But that is stuff I'd like, not stuff I need. 

As far as stuff I need goes (and by need I mean stuff that will almost certainly come up in play, and I want to handle in a way that will be mostly consistent with published material, when it appears), I think we are doing OK, we just need to put it all in one place, maybe flesh out some of the stuff that we are likely to have players refer to all the time (like major cult writeups). The biggest question I think is really that we are only now starting to have some idea of what serious Lunar Mystic magicians look like in play. And we are getting there. We need a few more rules, but I think we are starting to get a good idea of what those rules would look like. 

Working out what mysticism should work like has been a long, difficult, process. And quite a bit complicated by Greg really basing it a lot on real mystic practice - a subject that even among practicing mystics in notoriously confusing and hard to understand. But I think we are getting somewhere, especially in the narrower question of how the Lunar way works. And while the sources like the Fortunate Succession and The Entekosiad aren't exactly easy ones to get to grips with, I think they form a rich strong foundation for producing more immediately playable Lunar material. 

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