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jeffjerwin

Tell me of Sheng Seleris

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Bijiif is also Bijib, Trickster God of the Starlight Ancestors and Lenshi..:

"At first, in the earliest times, both humans and deities walked in this world together. But it could not stay so easily. It was human beings – our own ancestors – who made it bad first.

Bijib did it, damn him. We liked Bijib before he was anyone. Then one day he told the ancestors that they should be separate from animals, because all the animals were like humans sometimes. But people couldn’t do it alone, and so Bijib gave fire to the human beings, and none of the animals could use it. Because of this the animals went away from the peoples’ camps, angry and unwilling to help any more. As a result, afterwards people had to hunt and to work for food, instead of being fed.

But Bijib wasn’t done yet. He went among the gods and made them think that they wanted to be separate too, even though they didn’t know how to do it. So Bijib gave them Ourphaz, and people could not use it. They thought that this would make the people into their food." (http://www.glorantha.com/docs/ancestors-of-the-lenshi-kings/)

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Well, that just ate one of my posts.

On 10/1/2018 at 7:04 PM, jeffjerwin said:

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

I think the campaign between Sheng Seleris and the Red Emperor took a lot longer than that.

 

On 10/1/2018 at 7:04 PM, jeffjerwin said:

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.

Don't forget that Sheng Seleris was a Demigod himself, I seem to remember him being called "Son of the Morning", implying a relationship with Theya, maybe son of the child of Theya, which puts him within 4 generations of an Emperor, Sheng Seleris, Goddess of the Morning, Theya, Yelm. I think that Sheng Seleris put his brother forward as Candidate in the Ten test to rule as a Proxy Emperor in Sheng's place. If his brother was also a son og the Morning, then he would also be within 4 generations of an Emperor and would qualify. The Red Emperor HeroQuested as Basko to defeat the Red Emperor's brother and the other candidates.

In my opinion, Sheng Seleris was trying to reimpose the mythical "Horse Nomads Ruling Peloria" event, so was effectively a HeroQuest, or series of HeroQuests to that end. He was within 4 generations of an Emperor, invoked the name of an Emperor (Kazkurtum was an Emperor of Dara Happa) and wrestled with the Red Emperor to steal some of his Rulership Power. He then performed a series of HeroQuests, first to build his powers, then to kill the Red Emperor and invade the Red Moon and finally to rule over the Lunar Empire. He probably did some of it while off in Kralorela, Teshnos, the Wastelands of Prax, but the History of the Wanes doesn't care about those places and did not mention them.

The Red Emperor was killed and then came back, but lived in hiding, while he fathered Hon Eel and Yara Aranis, killed Sheng Seleris' brother and slowly built up his power again. 

The whole Sheng Seleris vs the Red Emperor story is a series of Strikes and Counterstrikes, with a lot of power-building in the meantime.

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8 minutes ago, soltakss said:

 

I think the campaign between Sheng Seleris and the Red Emperor took a lot longer than that.

Don't forget that Sheng Seleris was a Demigod himself, I seem to remember him being called "Son of the Morning", implying a relationship with Theya, maybe son of the child of Theya, which puts him within 4 generations of an Emperor, Sheng Seleris, Goddess of the Morning, Theya, Yelm. I think that Sheng Seleris put his brother forward as Candidate in the Ten test to rule as a Proxy Emperor in Sheng's place. If his brother was also a son og the Morning, then he would also be within 4 generations of an Emperor and would qualify. The Red Emperor HeroQuested as Basko to defeat the Red Emperor's brother and the other candidates.

In my opinion, Sheng Seleris was trying to reimpose the mythical "Horse Nomads Ruling Peloria" event, so was effectively a HeroQuest, or series of HeroQuests to that end. He was within 4 generations of an Emperor, invoked the name of an Emperor (Kazkurtum was an Emperor of Dara Happa) and wrestled with the Red Emperor to steal some of his Rulership Power. He then performed a series of HeroQuests, first to build his powers, then to kill the Red Emperor and invade the Red Moon and finally to rule over the Lunar Empire. He probably did some of it while off in Kralorela, Teshnos, the Wastelands of Prax, but the History of the Wanes doesn't care about those places and did not mention them.

The Red Emperor was killed and then came back, but lived in hiding, while he fathered Hon Eel and Yara Aranis, killed Sheng Seleris' brother and slowly built up his power again. 

The whole Sheng Seleris vs the Red Emperor story is a series of Strikes and Counterstrikes, with a lot of power-building in the meantime.

He invaded the Empire for the first time in the 1370s. He became a Star in 1443, of course, after conquering most of Kralorela and stealing the sovereignty of Kostaddi. Now, 'Son of the Morning' may refer to his origins in the East, but it may be his mythic star ancestry as well - Theya is a star. But since that was arrived at by hero questing it only applies to any 'brothers' (who would be quite ancient by this time) by proxy.

Kazkurtum is an emperor but he is also the Great Darkness, the Empty Emperor (and possibly both/either Zorak Zoran and Black Sun). He is the complete inversion of lawful rule. The Jenarong Rites of the 'Emperors on Horse' is more effective as a means of legitimacy - 'Kazkurtum' is an observation or insult directed at Sheng Seleris, not really a basis for oppressive power, which was his goal.

Sheng Seleris has a blueprint for becoming a God and conquering the Moon, based on austerities/ascetic devotions and a pattern of two defeats and a third victory.

The Emperor, meanwhile, is trying to find an effective counter, which he only really accomplishes in 1460. The problem of Yara Aranis (his first really effective strategy) is that fighting fear, suffering and terror with fear, suffering, and terror, is only going to create a stalemate. It also runs counter to the lesson of Gerra, the suffering Moon, which is that Compassion and Hope are the path to escaping oppression. Gerra's discovery is closely akin to Second Son's Star Heart.

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14 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Sheng Seleris has a blueprint for becoming a God and conquering the Moon, based on austerities/ascetic devotions and a pattern of two defeats and a third victory.

 

So do you suppose SS had the EWF Banner?

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6 hours ago, Pentallion said:

So do you suppose SS had the EWF Banner?

The banner disappeared after the attack on the EWF's capital by the True Golden Horde, which did... include a lot of Pelorians. So it could be mouldering in a Pelorian temple somewhere, awaiting its discovery by SS. However, I suspect it should be associated with Argrath more than AgartuSay. They approached the Arkat Way differently. AgartuSay's relationship to dragons is apparently hostile (viz. Godunya) and Argrath's more positive.

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23 hours ago, soltakss said:

In my opinion, Sheng Seleris was trying to reimpose the mythical "Horse Nomads Ruling Peloria" event, so was effectively a HeroQuest, or series of HeroQuests to that end. He was within 4 generations of an Emperor, invoked the name of an Emperor (Kazkurtum was an Emperor of Dara Happa) and wrestled with the Red Emperor to steal some of his Rulership Power. He then performed a series of HeroQuests, first to build his powers, then to kill the Red Emperor and invade the Red Moon and finally to rule over the Lunar Empire. He probably did some of it while off in Kralorela, Teshnos, the Wastelands of Prax, but the History of the Wanes doesn't care about those places and did not mention them.

The Red Emperor was killed and then came back, but lived in hiding, while he fathered Hon Eel and Yara Aranis, killed Sheng Seleris' brother and slowly built up his power again. 

The whole Sheng Seleris vs the Red Emperor story is a series of Strikes and Counterstrikes, with a lot of power-building in the meantime.

I'd love to have a heroquest system (not necessarily HeroQuest) that supported this sort of thinking, planning and struggling rather than having to make up such rules myself. A lot of Gloranthan material lends itself to hero-level campaigns, like this, or the Seven Mothers, or Arkat, or what have you. 

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On 10/5/2018 at 12:35 PM, jeffjerwin said:I'm pretty sure all the peasants slaughtered to turn their fields into pasture might take issue with 'low-key'.

And he made the Puchair river run red with blood for a week. 

The destruction of fields, and diversion of resources, meant horrific famine through much of the conquered territory.

And murdered and rape of subject peoples by nomad warriors was apparently routine. 

In the fragment from Greya Two-Mothers story that Greg published in Moonrites, Greya ( who was born during the nomad occupation) describes growing up eating leaves and cockroaches. She also describes the time her family buried her and camouflaged the tiny part of her face sticking out with boards and leaves, so she will not be discovered and raped by ‘demons’, who do rape her mother and murder her aunt. 

There are probably parts of the vast Empire that Shengs troops seldom visited, and did not destroy. Those parts that accepted his rule without war, and whose religious practices he found acceptable. Ignorance, for example.

But for the Lunar and Kralorelan provinces that Sheng conquered by warfare, and ran his troops through regularly, his reign was hellish and brutal. 

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8 hours ago, davecake said:

And he made the Puchair river run red with blood for a week. 

The destruction of fields, and diversion of resources, meant horrific famine through much of the conquered territory.

And murdered and rape of subject peoples by nomad warriors was apparently routine. 

Still is if you have the Char-un or similar horse riders as occupation forces. The Grazers might have shed a bit of that after accepting the reign of the Feathered Horse Queens, and Joraz Kyrem probably made is followers obey more civilized rules, too, but the rest of the horse nomads have never been known as tender overlords.

Tatius' Windstop was worse on the natives, and Tatius enjoyed that greatly.

8 hours ago, davecake said:

In the fragment from Greya Two-Mothers story that Greg published in Moonrites, Greya ( who was born during the nomad occupation) describes growing up eating leaves and cockroaches. She also describes the time her family buried her and camouflaged the tiny part of her face sticking out with boards and leaves, so she will not be discovered and raped by ‘demons’, who do rape her mother and murder her aunt. 

Those demons could just as well have been Alkothi, and that kind of diet probably wasn't too uncommon among the Sixths of Dara Happa without Teelo Norri alms. For lack of fire probably not prepared as a gumbo...

 

8 hours ago, davecake said:

There are probably parts of the vast Empire that Shengs troops seldom visited, and did not destroy. Those parts that accepted his rule without war, and whose religious practices he found acceptable. Ignorance, for example.

But for the Lunar and Kralorelan provinces that Sheng conquered by warfare, and ran his troops through regularly, his reign was hellish and brutal. 

So did he compare favorably or unfavorably to the Bull Shah episode of the Empire? Did he unleash the Bat on the population (from controlling it)?

Yelm worshippers are a callous lot, and so are horse nomads. Combining these traits makes for charming folk. (Not that violent Storm Pentans or Praxians on steroids are any better...)

I don't recall any repeat of Dagguneri ("Eats Women") for Sheng's reign.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yelm worshippers are a callous lot, and so are horse nomads.

Now that you mention it, does Dara Happa "on Horse" imply that the solar temples incorporated aspects of "nomad Yelm" (Youth through Sage) at this time? We know that the lunar establishment rebuilt but the sources are silent on how (or whether) a solar reformer emerged to once again purify the imperial cult from new influences.

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15 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Now that you mention it, does Dara Happa "on Horse" imply that the solar temples incorporated aspects of "nomad Yelm" (Youth through Sage) at this time? We know that the lunar establishment rebuilt but the sources are silent on how (or whether) a solar reformer emerged to once again purify the imperial cult from new influences.

I believe one did, and he became Jenarong Emperor of Dara Happa (and vassal of Sheng), but his name and images were excised from the temples and scrolls in the mid-1460s.

In the Guide: (p.298): 'Sheng Seleris imported forces from the farthest reaches of his empire to pacify Dara Happa. Among these were foreign priesthoods which he tried to transplant into Peloria... this brought about another War of the Suns..." The Guide goes on to say that these heresies were excised after Sheng's defeat.

A lot of knowledge was lost and from the Fortunate Succession we know the post-Sheng Yelmic literature was reconstructed based on Alkothian manuscripts that were not tampered with by Sheng. Or so the story goes. I suspect the Sun-Horse tradition was obliterated by the Lunars in the 1460s-70s, and ancient temples dating to the Kargzant and Jenarong periods were destroyed or altered, and were retroactively renamed.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't recall any repeat of Dagguneri ("Eats Women") for Sheng's reign.

Sheng does embrace ritual cannibalism as King of Sartar reveals:

"[One day the king got a request for help from Sheng Seleris. Argrath, always a man of honor, answered the call and went with an army to Molarisor City. At the subsequent battle, Argrath was at the front of the fight always, and led the attack which cut its way through the Red Emperor’s vampire bodyguard. King Argrath then struck down the Red Emperor. King Argrath would have buried the body, or burned it, with honor, but Sheng Seleris insisted on taking it and cooking it. He then served a great feast to his chieftains, who devoured their eternal foe. After that, although there was a Red Emperor, it was never again the same Red Emperor. Unable to support it own perversity, the evil and corrupt empire fell to its own hunger and devoured itself.]

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Sheng is worse than other nomads, worse than the Alkothi, far worse than life as normal. 

He is a bit like being ruled over by the Char-un or Grazers - if the Char-un followed a god who believed life was torture and slavery (rather than a goddess of liberation and compassion). So much worse. The path of Jolaty makes the nomads capable of far greater cruelties than they were before. 

Sure, the Grazers enslave the vendref - but they have a relatively benign earth goddess ruler, rather than a torture and slave god

And no, the poor of the empire eat gruel, not scrabbling for leaves and insects. The empire is normally fairly rich in grain, in any era outside the Darkness except for Shengs rule. 

Yes, it’s worse than the Bull shahs. The bull shahs were no doubt brutal to the aristocracy and combatants that resisted them, but wanted only to rule - and preferably rule a productive, rich land. We have no evidence the Bull shahs has a policy of deliberately cruel the way Shengs troops were. The Alkothi, also, are brutal enemies, but Tolat is also a love god (and the Alkothi worship Alkor and BisElensliba) - They are dangerous as warriors, but not great murderers of innocents or torture lovers. 

The Windstop may have been somewhat worse as a famine, but was far shorter and less deliberately cruel. Sheng hated *agriculture* and deliberately threw the land into famine, for a generation or so. And Tatius may have enjoyed the effect of the Windstop - but he didn’t drop by and deliberately murder and rape the inhabitants of Sartar while it was happening. 

for large parts of Peloria and Kralorela, the rule of Sheng was worse than anything since the Darkness. The rule of Sheng was the Rape of Nanking, it was the Killing Fields, it was the Holodomor. 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, davecake said:

for large parts of Peloria and Kralorela, the rule of Sheng was worse than anything since the Darkness. The rule of Sheng was the Rape of Nanking, it was the Killing Fields, it was the Holodomor. 

In my game, he has cut out his own heart so he feels neither compassion nor pity.

There's only one other parallel in Glorantha since Time: the razing of Dorastor by Arkat. This is no coincidence.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Sheng does embrace ritual cannibalism as King of Sartar reveals:

"[One day the king got a request for help from Sheng Seleris. Argrath, always a man of honor, answered the call and went with an army to Molarisor City. At the subsequent battle, Argrath was at the front of the fight always, and led the attack which cut its way through the Red Emperor’s vampire bodyguard. King Argrath then struck down the Red Emperor. King Argrath would have buried the body, or burned it, with honor, but Sheng Seleris insisted on taking it and cooking it. He then served a great feast to his chieftains, who devoured their eternal foe. After that, although there was a Red Emperor, it was never again the same Red Emperor. Unable to support it own perversity, the evil and corrupt empire fell to its own hunger and devoured itself.]

Well, at least the text shows why the cannibalism was justified by Sheng: by preventing the rebirth of the Red Emperor-proper. I suppose this is an extension of previously preventing the TakenEgi-mask to respawn, as it were.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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1 minute ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Well, at least the text shows why the cannibalism was justified by Sheng: by preventing the rebirth of the Red Emperor-proper. I suppose this is an extension of previously preventing the TakenEgi-mask to respawn, as it were.

Nysalor was destroyed by cutting him into seven parts and hiding them. It isn't necessary to 'eat' the Emperor unless you want to ingest and become the Emperor - merely to taking of the soul's seven parts and destroying or isolating them. Sheng desires power, not liberation, so that, clearly, reflects that. I think ritual cannibalism is an innovation of his that shows both contempt for the victim and the god-like ness of the consumer, as the Gods also take human sacrifices.

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Possibly, but what if Sheng saw the Red Emperor, or his mother, as some kind of recombination of Nysalor's parts in some respect? Eating and consuming might do the trick where hiding does not.

Not trying to argue against that Sheng isn't an utter genocidal monster (and deliberately so), but if we really believe that it's the Arkat-nature that drives him, then his existence is one more defined by opposing something rather than standing for something.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Possibly, but what if Sheng saw the Red Emperor, or his mother, as some kind of recombination of Nysalor's parts in some respect? Eating and consuming might do the trick where hiding does not.

Not trying to argue against that Sheng isn't an utter genocidal monster (and deliberately so), but if we really believe that it's the Arkat-nature that drives him, then his existence is one more defined by opposing something rather than standing for something.

Or since Arkat is Nysalor's other and double, ingesting his shadow/light self as a process of self-destruction and synthesis. Alchemy, like the alchemy Sheng used against the gates of Yuthuppa. But what emerged was the Monster Empire and Wakboth...

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

Sheng is worse than other nomads, worse than the Alkothi, far worse than life as normal. 

Why would he inflict wide-spread long-term torture that would create anti-Shengs sooner or later? Sheng chooses an elite of volunteers and possibly a few highly suitable conscripts to educate.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

He is a bit like being ruled over by the Char-un or Grazers - if the Char-un followed a god who believed life was torture and slavery (rather than a goddess of liberation and compassion). So much worse. The path of Jolaty makes the nomads capable of far greater cruelties than they were before. 

The Char-un follow such a belief anyway - not so much slavery, but they make a cult of hardship bordering on suffering to define their manliness, and have no regard for sedentary folk unless they are able to win over them. And then at best grudgingly, and constantly testing their boundaries.

Another Garangordos? Oh please. Abject serfdom, yes, much worse than the Vendref before the FHQ, or the Ergeshi in Sun Dome County.

Sheng treats the sedentary folk much like the Alkothi treat the Darjiinians. He does exchange bureaucrats and magicians between the big former empires, and establishes a brutal but efficient order. SS or Red Army occupied recently conquered lands.

Genocidal? Certainly. But so were others before him.

Palangio did the same to Orlanthland - he initiated a decades long drought (according to Ten Women Well Loved), and Lokamayadon prevented access to Orlanth. The Bright Empire didn't shy away from all manners of chaotic behavior. Not that the curses summoned by Arkat and Talor were any more wholesome.

 

2 hours ago, davecake said:

Sure, the Grazers enslave the vendref - but they have a relatively benign earth goddess ruler, rather than a torture and slave god

Before the FHQ rose to power, the vendref experiences just that - a life worse than the Oasis Folk.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

And no, the poor of the empire eat gruel, not scrabbling for leaves and insects.

The Fifth, maybe. The Sixth are the garbage dump and miserable swamp folk. The swamp folk would normally live on tubers and whatever crawls and swims between them, much like the durulz. The Frog-eaters of the Bodensee pole houses paid for that diet by contracting bad parasites which would eat them up from the interior.

At the best, the weeders may have access to wild rice.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

The empire is normally fairly rich in grain, in any era outside the Darkness except for Shengs rule. 

Rice paddies probably were left untouched by Sheng, after all you cannot turn them into useful pasture. The Dry Farmers on the other hand had to plant grain only to have it grazed off by the horses.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

Yes, it’s worse than the Bull shahs. The bull shahs were no doubt brutal to the aristocracy and combatants that resisted them, but wanted only to rule - and preferably rule a productive, rich land. We have no evidence the Bull shahs has a policy of deliberately cruel the way Shengs troops were.

The reaction to Endarkus Bull-slayer's revolt was on a similar level to the massacre of Gio, and won't have been the only such retaliatory strike. The oh so civilized rulers of the three empires conquered by Sheng were as brutal in establishing order. As a conqueror, Sheng had more opportunities to do so.

 

2 hours ago, davecake said:

The Alkothi, also, are brutal enemies, but Tolat is also a love god (and the Alkothi worship Alkor and BisElensliba) - They are dangerous as warriors, but not great murderers of innocents or torture lovers. 

Tolat may be a god of matrimonial fertility, but Shargash is not a god of love. Shargash is Zorak Zoran in the sky. His berserks quite likely partake of corpses before their raids and smear themselves with ashes and corpse wax, emulating the Shadzorings of old. They are civilized, which makes them more terrible than the Storm Bulls.

I don't see much of a qualitative difference between Nontraya and the god of the Shadzorings, other than "but he is our monster" (which he often enough wasn't).

2 hours ago, davecake said:

The Windstop may have been somewhat worse as a famine, but was far shorter and less deliberately cruel. Sheng hated *agriculture* and deliberately threw the land into famine, for a generation or so. And Tatius may have enjoyed the effect of the Windstop - but he didn’t drop by and deliberately murder and rape the inhabitants of Sartar while it was happening. 

Only because he wouldn't be distracted from his temple project. Earlier actions like the Dundealos incident show that Tatius enjoyed exactly this kind of cruelty. It is a Dara Happan cultural trait to exact the worst punishment on the unworthy (Gerra) and rebels.

2 hours ago, davecake said:

for large parts of Peloria and Kralorela, the rule of Sheng was worse than anything since the Darkness. The rule of Sheng was the Rape of Nanking, it was the Killing Fields, it was the Holodomor. 

Probably the Thirty Years War in the Germanies, or the fifty years longer conflict in the Netherlands? A few Magdeburgs, a lot of Marode regiments, plundering, raping, force-recruiting...

It was the True Golden Horde inflicted on Peloria? Sheng had as much use for the dry farmers as the US settlers had for the Cherokee, or Atatürk for the Armenians, or Charlemagne for the Saxons, so he acted accordingly. He may have done the wheat equvialent to the bison massacre which destroyed Plain Indian culture, or the Tasmanian conquest. He may even have rounded up unnecessary dry farmers for target practice, or have had his quite erudite Kralori and Pelorian bureaucracy arrange mass migrations into destruction.

His main force - the horse nomads - had quite a few grudges to get even for, Golden Horde style.

From history, you could name Attila, Timur Leng, Vlad Dracul and any number of European culture governments in the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century for cruelty.

Sheng did build up an empire, and made maximum use of the civilized assets that didn't inconvenience his horse riders, like the Kralori fleet he sent to Vormain. His empire was well ruled, supporting a huge army. The peasantry was struggling to feed the army and themselves, but they managed, just like the Oasis Folk in Prax do.

Re-dedicating wheat fields for pasture is no bigger a deal than declaring vast tracts of England as forests (hunting preserves), evicting or hamstringing the resident population.

 

Don't get me wrong - Sheng was a power-hungry, cruel, mad demigod. But like Avanapdur, his empire worked for quite a while when Lunar Chaos was fought off as much as Kralori dragons. His opponents in the Lunar Empire were as ruthless as Sheng.

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8 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Don't get me wrong - Sheng was a power-hungry, cruel, mad demigod. But like Avanapdur, his empire worked for quite a while when Lunar Chaos was fought off as much as Kralori dragons. His opponents in the Lunar Empire were as ruthless as Sheng.

Really? Under whose rule would you rather be living? The Red Emperor's or Sheng Seleris?

There is a core part - albeit a contradictory part - but such is her perogative - of the Lunar Way that is rooted in compassion. Ask Gerra about it. It may be more exemplified by Great Sister than Moonson, but she has a definite moral role. There is no such balance in the empire of the Pain Star, whose bureaucracy only exists to feed his host and support their ruler's ambition.

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6 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

There is a core part - albeit a contradictory part - but such is her perogative - of the Lunar Way that is rooted in compassion. Ask Gerra about it. It may be more exemplified by Great Sister than Moonson, but she has a definite moral role. There is no such balance in the empire of the Pain Star, whose bureaucracy only exists to feed his host and support their ruler's ambition.

I think you just wrote the pitch for the Eighth Wane Handbook here.

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6 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Really? Under whose rule would you rather be living? The Red Emperor's or Sheng Seleris?

Depends strongly which ethnicity and rank you are assigning, and which Red Emperor.

In Dara Happa, I would have to become illuminated to survive the hierarchy.

As a horse rider, the answer is clear - Sheng Seleris.

6 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

There is a core part - albeit a contradictory part - but such is her perogative - of the Lunar Way that is rooted in compassion. Ask Gerra about it.

Ask Parg Ilisi about it. Danfive Xaron. The Mad Sultan. The Vampire League. The Cult of the Bat. Gerra is as much about torture and slavery as is Sheng, only Sheng chose the power path rather than liberation.

6 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

It may be more exemplified by Great Sister than Moonson, but she has a definite moral role.

Only when Moonson is a total ass, like Argenteus. When there was a capable and ascetic emperor, Great Sister would be all about debouchery and excess. The original Takenegi and Great Sister may have been somewhat balanced, with not too extreme cycles, but the subsequent masks of moonson have been quite irregular in capabilities, and generally free of compassion. (Thrice Blessed - the name is a sick joke.)

6 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

There is no such balance in the empire of the Pain Star, whose bureaucracy only exists to feed his host and support their ruler's ambition.

As it should be in a good solar patriarchy. Given the right position, life in Sheng's empire is at least as good as in Takenegi's. Just don't become one of the victims - but that is true for the tens of thousands of Tarshites, Sartarites, Votanki, Arkos folk and Pentans enslaved in the post-Sheng Empire, too. The Lunar way preaches liberation and promotes slavery and mass human sacrifice. Sheng preaches might through suffering and promotes a well-ordered empire. Either are somewhat unpalatable but acceptable under the pressure to Dara Happans - any strong emperor is a good emperor, regardless what he does to some of his subjects.

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17 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Given the right position, life in Sheng's empire is at least as good as in Takenegi's. Just don't become one of the victims - but that is true for the tens of thousands of Tarshites, Sartarites, Votanki, Arkos folk and Pentans enslaved in the post-Sheng Empire, too. The Lunar way preaches liberation and promotes slavery and mass human sacrifice. Sheng preaches might through suffering and promotes a well-ordered empire. Either are somewhat unpalatable but acceptable under the pressure to Dara Happans - any strong emperor is a good emperor, regardless what he does to some of his subjects.

Speaking on a purely utilitarian basis, there are a lot more spaces for survival and prosperity in the Lunar Empire (or even the Dara Happan empire) than there are among the Pentans, who are both fewer and ruled by fewer. You speak of tens of thousands of dead barbarians, but Sheng's empire embraces a purposeless death for many millions. 

Also, liberation through suffering offers a path out of suffering. Sheng's worldly dream of empire extends one's suffering infinitely.

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3 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Speaking on a purely utilitarian basis, there are a lot more spaces for survival and prosperity in the Lunar Empire (or even the Dara Happan empire) than there are among the Pentans, who are both fewer and ruled by fewer. You speak of tens of thousands of dead barbarians, but Sheng's empire embraces a purposeless death for many millions. 

Also, liberation through suffering offers a path out of suffering. Sheng's worldly dream of empire extends one's suffering infinitely.

That's where I differ. The austerities are meant to be overcome by the mystic. Once you have advanced far enough, there is no suffering. Whatever the torturers might think of, the Outer World you explore has a much higher degree of "purification" to inflict on you, or destruction to embrace and integrate if you go the Venfornic way.

 

Sheng has a way to collect all of his Zolathi buddies before some of the last steps to the Void, but even there, suffering is long overcome and austerities are just a meditative aid. He then has them use all the temptations they have been offered going that far.

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2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

That's where I differ. The austerities are meant to be overcome by the mystic. Once you have advanced far enough, there is no suffering. Whatever the torturers might think of, the Outer World you explore has a much higher degree of "purification" to inflict on you, or destruction to embrace and integrate if you go the Venfornic way.

 

Sheng has a way to collect all of his Zolathi buddies before some of the last steps to the Void, but even there, suffering is long overcome and austerities are just a meditative aid. He then has them use all the temptations they have been offered going that far.

It doesn't strike you as peculiar that these sufferings seem to be visited on everyone around the mystic? Sheng's path of outward rather than inward power inevitable leads not to the suffering of one disciple, but of everyone else, who may be discarded even more ruthlessly than the ecstatic sacrifices at the altar of Hon-Eel. At least the latter see some measure of bliss instead of nightmare at their deaths.

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Two points:

Sheng's Empire was constantly beset by the vengeful former masters of Peloria, forcing Sheng to remain in force. 

The madness that accompanies the Lunar Way especially in places like SIlver Shadow or Graclodont is almost indistinguishable from the nightmares accompanying Sheng to the non-illuminated or non-initiated (Seven Mothers). The Spolite ways are part of the Lunar Way, and they can make the Shadzorings look civilized.

There can be more rational leaders in the Empire who can create tolerable conditions for the citizens. They aren't exactly in the majority.

Sheng did not have unlimited numbers of Zolathi at his side. Possibly enough to equalize the Lunar College of Magic with its demonic Full Moon Corps and their magicians.

The Lunar resistance certainly was "all heroic and not at all bad for the population", much like the rebel outlaws in Lunar occupied Sartar. They caused a good portion of the hardship in the Sheng-occupied lands.

Edited by Joerg
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