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jeffjerwin

Tell me of Sheng Seleris

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In 1449 Sheng Seleris invaded the Moon and he ruled much of Peloria until the Battle of Kitor in 1460.

My current campaign is set between these events. (My Gavrening game is on hiatus) It's more or less a Wuxia game.

I'm looking for thoughts about the period. His brother is said to have attempted the Ten Tests (Fortunate Succession). It seems that Kazkurtum is used instead of whatever divine name AgartuSay or his Brother (?) chose. Any information on this and the nature of the Celestial Empire - how it supplanted the Lunar Empire for instance - would be appreciated.

Also, I'm reconstructing the cult of Verithurusa for my daughter's character. Any help would be appreciated.

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The Glorantha Sourcebook has some maps which give additional detail.  For instance, after the Lunar Empire collapsed there was a rebellion in and around Darsen led by the Ancient Way.  It seems they were all slaughtered because next wane, their lands are part of the New Grasslands.   

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I notice this map mistakenly has SS on the Moon in 1419 when that happened in 1449. (At least in the copy I have - I'm downloading the newest version to see if the error persisted - um, yep.). Looks like a misreading of Greg's handwriting. 

I thought also it was implied in the Fortunate Succession that SS had captured Raibanth also. (Maybe this was in the 1370s-80s instead in his first incursion).

Edited by jeffjerwin

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On p.63 is an illustration of the 'Crippled Man' helping Sheng Seleris escape the Emperor (according to the endnote on p.93). Any theories on this?

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I see the Celestial Empire as geared towards supporting a magically invincible army of conquest.  The cities and roads fall into ruin and decay as the grain and funds for their maintenance are diverted elsewhere.  Signs of rebellion crushed whenever possible to maximize what can be extracted from a servile populace.

The core of the Celetsial Empire are the Zolathi, the invincible slaves of Jolaty.  Their souls have been cooked in the Empire's monasteries before being quenched and released to fight for Sheng.  The monasteries do not produce Zolathi every year but they are built with a select amount of would-be Zolathi sealed within them.  There they remain suffering in torment until they are needed.  Then the seal is broken, the Zolathi released and the monastery abandoned.  The older a monastery is, the more resources it requires to keep the souls within in torment.  Because of this most of the Empire's resources goes towards keeping the monasteries running.  

Any player-heroes unfortunate to be sent to the monasteries are not killed.  Instead they are made to labour day and night making the lives of the would-be Zolathi within a constant torment.  Their duties range from cracking whips, keeping the irons hot, playing discordant music etc.  Often the Abbots gives them enchantments so they can work longer and harder without tiring.  The would-be Zolathi are constantly trying to escape and see their tormentors as foes.

 

 

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You have described a monstrous perversion of asceticism.

I fear you are right. It means, however, that the torments of Sheng Seleris in the Lunar Hell have only made him stronger. His release was the worst of all Argrath's actions.

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Another feature of the Celestial Empire is that their supporters are often from distant lands.  In Peloria, this means that the horse nomads will have civilian rulers and back-up troops from Teshnos (Elephants), Boshan (Tetsudo shieldwalls) and Ignorance (bloody handed maniacs).  They would have sent in Animal Nomads but the Pelorians are accustomed to those by now and the Horse Nomads don't want the Hungry Plateau getting any more allies..  

Pelorian warriors would be sent to Teshnos, Boshan and Ignorance.  They will be treated marginally better than they would be in their homeland and forbidden to fraternize with the locals even to speak their language.  All interactions should be only be spoken in the Pentan Language and then only through authoritized intermediaries.  The Empire prefers that their auxillaries hate and fear the natives with deaths resulting from inevitable misunderstandings to be a good thing.  If player-heroes are in a distant part of the Celestial Empire and carry out their orders without killing any natives then they are surely fraternizing with the enemy...

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I have some issues with the accepted chronology of the Seleran Wars.  I have no doubt that the Lunars believe that the events of the Redline History and the Fortunate Succession in this period is accurate, it's just that some parts don't make much sense.

  • What happened to the Bat?  Surely sending it against Sheng Seleris is what it's designed for?  (It also wasn't at the Battle of the Four Arrows of Light but it was at the Battle of Castle Blue).  Elsewhere in the Glorantha Sourcebook, JarEel is mentioned as riding the Crimson Bat in the Third Battle of Chaos.  When was the Second?  Was the Crimson Bat sent against Sheng Seleris and defeated?  Did Sheng capture it and use it as his personal steed elsewhere?
  • Sheng Seleris manages to ride his army all the way up the Arcos Valley to Yuthuppa before doing battle with the Lunar Empire?  Whatever happened to putting a massive army between First Blessed and the Redlands?  Was there an earlier conquest of First Blessed by the nomads?  Or had First Blessed revolted against the Red Emperor beforehand?
  • By 1377, there are three or four centres of resistance to Sheng Seleris: Glamour, Alkoth, Sylila and the Western Reaches?  Why doesn't Sheng do the obvious thing and kick their heads in?  He's invincible in Battle.  But he doesn't move against Glamour for another twelve years.  Perhaps after the Battle of Yuthuppa, the supposed centres of resistance submitted to Sheng Seleris and paid tribute?
  • As a result of his wrestling match with the Red Emperor in 1389 ST, Sheng manages to steal a portion of the Red Emperor's worship over Kostaddi but doesn't use it for another 54 years?  This is after he has already killed the Red Emperor in the meantime who then used the knowledge to beget Yara Aranis?  Who on earth waits that long?  And who precisely are the rebels?  Next door for all those 54 years  is Dara Happa on Horse who would gladly annex Kostaddi if asked.  
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A thing about Sheng's Brother is that Sheng is about 100+ years old at the time.  

A possibility is that the Brother is actually the leader of Dara Happa on Horse, so-called because he was worthy enough to be addressed as Brother by Sheng.

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2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

You have described a monstrous perversion of asceticism.

I fear you are right. It means, however, that the torments of Sheng Seleris in the Lunar Hell have only made him stronger. His release was the worst of all Argrath's actions.

That which does not kill you makes you a bad*** M*****F*****

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A simple list of Sheng's whereabouts.

  • 1250 - Kralorela - Defeated by Exarch.  Century of Slavery begins.
  • 1350 - Kralorela - Century of slavery ends.  Performs miracles in Boshan.
  • 1352 - Kralorela - Now known as Sheng Seleris.
  • 1355 - Kralorela - Leaves Boshan for Pent.
  • 1356 - Kralorela - seizes the Iron Forts
  • 1361 - Wastelands - Praxians submit to Sheng.
  • 1362 - Kralorela - Invades Kralorela
  • 1363 - Kralorela - Defeated by Godunya.  Teshnos is under Sheng's rule at this time.  Although interestingly enough his vassal there has a partial Dara Happan name some years before the Lunar Empire is first attacked.  
  • 1375 - Peloria - Defeats Lunars at Yuthuppa
  • 1382 - Peloria - Siege of Glamour.  Wrestles with Red Emperor
  • 1390 - Peloria - Sheng sends fatal curse against Red Emperor
  • 1404 - Peloria - Conversion of Alkoth.
  • 1405 - Peloria - Failed attack on Yara Aranis at Good Shore.
  • 1415 - Peloria - Sheng kills Red Emperor.
  • 1442 - Peloria - Conversion of Kostaddi. 
  •             Kralorela - Conquest.
  • 1443 - Peloria - Apotheosize as a Hero
  • 1444 - Peloria? - Possible involvement in slaughter of Sable People.  New Star created (said by Lunars to have been the previous year).
  • 1448 - Peloria - Deflects the Mad Sultanate away from his lands.
  • 1449 - Peloria - Red Moon landing
  • 1452 - Kralorela - Failed invasion of Vormain.
  • 1456 - Peloria - Sack of Jord's Eye
  • 1460 - Peloria - Defeat at Battle of Kitor

There's several notable interregnums.  After the 1363 defeat, Sheng takes 12 years to muster an army against the Lunar Empire.  I think that in 1355 ST, he gained the allegiance of the Eastern Pentans by the shores of the Hot Lakes.  Therefore after 1363 ST, he is conquering the Western Pentans and other sundry places within such as Senbar.

After defeating the Lunars at Yuthuppa, he's gone again for seven years before leading an army against Glamour.  After that, he's gone from Peloria for 22 years (apart from a brief curse) until he converts Alkoth and has a nasty tangle with Yara Aranis.  He does some prepation for another duel against the Red Emperor which doesn't take place for another ten years.

And then there's another gap of 27 years.  Part of that is probably the invasion of Kralorela but I find it difficult to imagine that this took 27 years.  

So where does he go?  And what kept him so busy?

 

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Maybe he's heroquesting and time passes slower for him than it does in the mundane world?

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2 hours ago, metcalph said:

And then there's another gap of 27 years.  Part of that is probably the invasion of Kralorela but I find it difficult to imagine that this took 27 years.  

 

Why's that? It took the Manchus 65 years to conquer China.

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10 hours ago, metcalph said:

Sheng Seleris manages to ride his army all the way up the Arcos Valley to Yuthuppa before doing battle with the Lunar Empire?  Whatever happened to putting a massive army between First Blessed and the Redlands?  Was there an earlier conquest of First Blessed by the nomads?  Or had First Blessed revolted against the Red Emperor beforehand?

Intercepting a nomadic cavalry army is probably very hard.

10 hours ago, metcalph said:

By 1377, there are three or four centres of resistance to Sheng Seleris: Glamour, Alkoth, Sylila and the Western Reaches?  Why doesn't Sheng do the obvious thing and kick their heads in?  He's invincible in Battle.  But he doesn't move against Glamour for another twelve years.  Perhaps after the Battle of Yuthuppa, the supposed centres of resistance submitted to Sheng Seleris and paid tribute?

Maybe. Glamour has some terribly nasty magics in it though. And Alkoth is literally impenetrable, so there's that, and the lands around are marsh.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Intercepting a nomadic cavalry army is probably very hard.

Maybe. Glamour has some terribly nasty magics in it though. And Alkoth is literally impenetrables, so there's that, and the lands around are marsh.

The marsh lands - like the Huang Chow in Kralorela - are probably the best defense against the horse barbarians. There may be a bit of 'opening the dykes' by the marsh folk too (they have no reason to cooperate with 'Dara Happa on Horse')!

SS however vowed to 'stand upon the Moon' which started his whole awful career (like Argrath, another Arkat, vowed to destroy it).

My timeline notes:

Before 1374 the ‘cities on the shore of the Elf Sea’ were destroyed by the Opili.

In 1389 SS besieged Glamour and wrestled the Emperor.

In 1415 Sheng Seleris slew Takenegi. He was called Kazkurtumas emperor of Dara Happa. He subordinated Shargash and Alkoth.

In 1423 Sylila reconquered Alkoth, linking itself to Glamour.

Takenegi returned, lame, in 1428. In 4/19 [1428] SS’s brother attempted the Ten Tests.

In 1436 the Sable tribe was granted rule over Kostaddi.

In c.1442-4 SS was in the East confronting Godunya.

1442   Tarshite raids reach as far as Sylila and Kostaddi.

In 1443 Kostaddi rebelled after SS revealed he had stolen part of the Emperor’s worship in 1389. Yara Aranis was defeated.

In 1448 part of the Mad Sultanate escaped Tork and went northwest past Bikhy. They crossed the Oslir north of Alkoth.

1449 is the year of the campaign: two years after Sheng Seleris became a star he invaded the Moon. He slew the Children of Change and the Council of Elders and Wise Ones (the Egi).

Sheng Seleris’ brother was the Emperor ‘On-Horse’ of Dara Happa.

In 1449 Takenegi and Orios of Tarsh were slain by the Mad Sultanate [or slain on the Moon by Sheng Seleris, ‘the Celestial Emperor’]. 

Vanch, Saird, Imther, and Forantin (Aggar) are all de facto independent, while only Rist, Sylila, the city of Torang, the Silver Shadow, and Carmania remain loyal to the rump Lunar Empire.

According to the Arrolians, since the death of the Red Emperor at the hands of Sheng Seleris the Empire has been ruled by the ‘Dead Moon’ dynasty.

In 1453 the Mad Sultanate attacked Lankrene before entering Dorastor.

The Emperor was in hiding in Doblian until 1460.

Battle of Kitor in 1460.

Submission of Dara Happa in 1462.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

 

And then there's another gap of 27 years.  Part of that is probably the invasion of Kralorela but I find it difficult to imagine that this took 27 years.  

So where does he go?  And what kept him so busy?

 

My perusal of the Glorantha Sourcebook version of the Red Line history shows that there was a war in Alkoth (1423) and his 'brother' attempted the Ten Tests in 1428; SS was present for the latter event.

The battle illustrated in the Fortunate Succession with the 'crippled man' helping SS to escape the Lunar army does not correspond to a known engagement...

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Some general observations:

There are two major reasons that might have something to do with the confusing nature of Fourth Wane history.

1. Sheng Seleris' history is almost certainly obscured because of the catastrophe of the Night of Horrors (1506). While people who remembered Sheng Seleris were probably at the battle, the only perspective that would have survived in oral tradition is that of the women, for the most part. 

2. The Mask of Magnificus has long been pointed out as fundamentally a different figure from Takenegi, who achieved a partial identification with the dead emperor via hero questing. He probably was a Carmanian (?) with a distinct history from the Red Emperor, but the clear need to justify his accession may have caused whole portions of the war to be elided, deleted, or conflated with other events. I suspect that there was more than one pretender in the 1440s. The art in the Fortunate Succession clearly shows a part of the war but is curiously not associated with a named battle or event.

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17 hours ago, metcalph said:

What happened to the Bat?  Surely sending it against Sheng Seleris is what it's designed for?  (It also wasn't at the Battle of the Four Arrows of Light but it was at the Battle of Castle Blue).  Elsewhere in the Glorantha Sourcebook, JarEel is mentioned as riding the Crimson Bat in the Third Battle of Chaos.  When was the Second?  Was the Crimson Bat sent against Sheng Seleris and defeated?  Did Sheng capture it and use it as his personal steed elsewhere?

According to the Sartar Companion, the Bat is forbidden from the inner Heartland of the Empire (p.244). This has not happened for 'many years'. Perhaps something that occurred during the Seleran Wars accounts for this...

I suspect control over the Bat was lost during one of the deaths of the Emperor or during the invasion of the Moon and it went fully rogue. This is omitted from the official history.

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14 hours ago, D said:

Maybe he's heroquesting and time passes slower for him than it does in the mundane world?

There's a sentence from the Fortunate Succession in describing his preparations for the next combat with the Red Emperor "He spent part of the year in the sky, tempting new spirits to come to aid him." FS p57.  Because of this, I don't believe multi-year absences on the Otherside are plausible explanations for his disappearances.

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14 hours ago, GianniVacca said:

Why's that? It took the Manchus 65 years to conquer China.

I wasn't complaining about the time it took to conquer Kralorela, I was commenting on the time the length of preparation for the invasion of Kralorela.  I could accept two to five years preparing to invade Kralorela, I cannot accept 27.  

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13 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Intercepting a nomadic cavalry army is probably very hard.

That may be but the apparent defence strategy of the Lunar Empire - to have no troops on the border - is somewhat bizarre.

 

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

That may be but the apparent defence strategy of the Lunar Empire - to have no troops on the border - is somewhat bizarre.

 

Do we know that? Would the Lunars know where the Pentans were entering their territory? Should they have troops stationed every few kilometers? If so, would they be able to put up any resistance or call for reinforcements in time?

It's not like this was a small area to cover.

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2 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:
Quote

That may be but the apparent defence strategy of the Lunar Empire - to have no troops on the border - is somewhat bizarre.

Do we know that? Would the Lunars know where the Pentans were entering their territory? Should they have troops stationed every few kilometers? If so, would they be able to put up any resistance or call for reinforcements in time?

It's not like this was a small area to cover.

The Lunars have

  • Moonboats.
  • Kastoki
  • The Lunar College of Magic (minor, major and crater-maker).
  • Client kingdoms of Koth and Venthil
  • Access to a decent river for troop transport
  • Scounts and merchants to keep an eye on the tribes beyond.

The key point of defence is to defend the territory they have not give it up to the nomads without a fight.  Instead we have "The citizens retreated into their citadels to await the army." Glorantha Sourcebook p169.  What is the point of having a big army if you don't bother defending your borders from an obvious threat?  

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On 10/2/2018 at 12:46 PM, metcalph said:

The cities and roads fall into ruin and decay as the grain and funds for their maintenance are diverted elsewhere. 

Yes, and the Selerian nomad followers regard them as worthless things to be plundered. 

 

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