Subject: Strange Broo, Volume 5, Number 12 RQDIGESTV05N12 First Distribution: February 13, 1991 This issue: The City of Perfe Paul Reilly Garhound Founding Legends Martin Crim Delecti and the Upland Marsh David Gadbois RuneQuest Chimera Jamie O'Shaughnessy ====================================================================== From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Reilly) Subject: The City of Perfe What do we know about Perfe from "official sources"? 1. It is a walled city on the Janube 2. The city-state has a population of c. 50,000 people, practically all human 3. It was conquered by the Kingdom of War by 1620 and in 1621 is being refortified as a base by the Warriors of the Kingdom. Herewith is my (unofficial) description of Perfe. My Fronela campaign is currently in 160?*, so the description is based on the city rather soon after the opening of the Ban. Government: The City's Government is in the hands of the Council of Elders of the City of the Goddess Perfe, usually called the Senate. The Senate is chosen by votes proportional to land ownership. Transfer of title is a complex process, and several noble families have sold the "use-rights" to their land while retaining the "actual" ownership. In effect, they have sold their land but not their vote. The Free Peasant Senator represents all small land-holders in the Senate, and often makes speeches in opposition to everyone else's policies. The Senate appoints several officers to run the city-state's bureaucracy. In particular, they can confirm the Perfe High Priest's choice of a successor, or appoint a new one; they appoint a Marshal in charge of the city's defense; they appoint any necessary General for military expeditions outside Perfe's territory, and they appoint a Minister of Building, Minister of the Exchequer, etc. Many of these appointments (once merit-based) have become virtually hereditary during the long peace of the Ban, with the notable exception of Generals. Much of the actual day-to-day running of city affairs is actually in the hands of the Temple of Perfe. Much of the power in the farmlands around the City is in the capable hands of the Ernalda cult; their yearly revenue from sold services, tithes (1/7) and investments is actually considerably greater than the City Government's budget. The Senate has the illusion of being in control only due to the political skill of the Ernaldan leadership. Major Government Personalities The Senate The Senate theoretically consists of fifty-six Chairs; actually, by tradition, one Seat, known as the Traitor's Seat for historical reasons, is left empty. The other fifty-five seats are apportioned among the major landholders: Eight Seats: Controlled by the Earth Temple Eight Seats: Controlled by the great family of Aligorn Six Seats each: Controlled by the Families of Rikespit and Moran Five Seats each: Controlled by the Families of Runstead, Halstead, and Zeno Four Seats: Family Hackbone Two Seats Each: Family Ares and the Malkioni Church One Seat Each: Family Armstead, the Guild Association, the Temple of Perfe, and the Free Peasants. Each of the organizations above selects a Senator who casts his or her vote in public or financial affairs. Some Senators are especially influential and command more power and are respect than the others, e.g.: Senator Yarin Aligorn: One of the heads of the Aligorn family, he is their spokesman in the Senate and a brilliant orator. Not only the Aligorns, but the Runsteads, Zenos, and the Temple of Perfe Senator can usually be counted on to vote with him, giving him a solid block of nineteen out of fifty-five votes. On any issue where he is not opposed by the other three coalitions together, he usually gets his way. Note that he needs only eleven additional votes to get a twenty-three vote majority. Alizan Rikespit is a handsome woman and a fine orator. She leads the opposition to the Aligorn coalition and in this usually has the cooperation of the other two coalitions. She herself is an enchantress of some note and is rumored to use some kind of illusion spell or youth potion to retain her looks as she passes fifty. To beat the Aligorns, she is often forced to make deals. On her side can nearly always be found her own Family's Senators, the Guild Senator Wayland (a Smith and ironworker) and the Hackbone family, for a total of eleven reliable votes. Duncan Raederle is an Ernalda Acolyte and the spokesman for the Earth Temple. The Temple owns one-seventh of the land in Perfe by decree and has other additional income; besides their own eight votes they can swing the Armstead votes and (usually) the Free Peasants for ten votes. Yoshi Moran is the middle-aged heir apparent of the Moran family and he leads his family's Senators due to the age and infirmity of his father Kevan. Yoshi's jovial manner and friendly overtures conceal a clever and ruthless politician who will stop at nothing to further his family's influence. It is rumored that the Morani are involved in blackmail, the black market, a waterfront protection racket, etc. Yoshi's main weakness is his addiction to exotic, foreign-born slave women of few years but many skills. On crucial issues he is joined by his own family and lately the Halsteads to whom he is now related by the marriage of his eldest son and one of their daughters. The new Moran-Halstead alliance also controls eleven senators. The four remaining Senate votes are cast by the Ares Family representatives and the Malkioni Church Senators (usually priests) who generally vote together as the Ares family practices the Malkioni faith. Senator Michael Ares is particularly notable as a powerful sorcerer but a relatively inept politician; he has spent too much time learning to summon and control otherworld entities to have learned much about controlling his fellow humans. Senatorial politics will come into play when major decisions are to be made, e.g., if foreigners came offering trade deals or an alliance. Most questions are actually settled by the faction leaders meeting in private and making deals; after the issue is decided the Senate passes the measure by acclamation and presents a united front. Once in a great while (such as when the Kingdom of War offered Perfe an alliance) each Senator will vote his or her conscience. Religion: The main religion of this town is the worship of the Earth Pantheon, most especially Ernalda. Important minor religions include Hrestoli Malkionism (less strictly meritocratic and formal than the Loskalm version), Lightbringer (including Orlanth as a Lightbringer and Ernalda's husband-protector) worship, Yelm worship (just one prominent family, really, but important nobles), Yelmalio (in his role as husband-protector) worship, the Janube cult, and the worship of the goddess of Perfe. A few dozen minor religions range down from shrine status to only one worshiper. Perhaps the most important of these is Daka Fal worship, supported by one family only in the hills overlooking the Janube valley, able to support a temple only because of ancestor participation. Others include Hunter, Fisher, Uleria, Valind, etc., each with only a shrine at most. One surprising shrine is that of Ompalam, who gives his spell of Enchant Slave Bracelets to his worshipers.** This shrine can be supported mainly because on the order of a hundred slaves are regularly given no choice but to join the cult of the slaver god. Another strange shrine is that of Thed, who has no regular worshipers, but occasionally rapists become "involuntary" initiates of the chaotic goddess of rape.# The shrine is just a little dale, and scholars attribute Thed's tie to the spot to some important rape that occurred here in Godtime.## Earth Pantheon The temple of Ernalda in this city is a very large temple; it does not call itself "great" but has many of the properties of a great temple. In addition, there are several major and minor temples of the Earth cult around the countryside, at a density such that every farmer in the city-state should be able to walk to at least a minor temple withing an hour or so. (i.e. one per 75 square kilometers, about 500 farms.) The temple in Perfe is not "great" simply because it once owed subservience to a true great temple in the city of Kors, found completely desolate after the Ban. The "great" temple includes a minor temple for each of the six major Earth goddesses### and shrines to Orlanth as husband-protector and to Gata, the primal Earth. The High Priestess of Perfe's Temple has certain special rights in the Perfe Government: She has the right and duty to speak first in the Council of Elders of the City (often called the Senate). She has the right and duty of passing the "Wand of Authority" to the General chosen by the Senate to lead the armed forces of the City in times of need. (Thus, no General can be appointed who does not meet with her approval.) She has the right to inspect the tax records of the City at any time. The Temple keeps a duplicate copy of all land ownership records. The High Priestess may call on the Government to defend any Earth Temple, although by doing so, she forfeits the right of that temple to be free from government inspection or entry (as in the right of Sanctuary). * I date the campaign by a local system, rather than ST, so that the players don't know exactly when certain things will happen. Even I do not yet know the exact date, although I have a good guess... ** Some scholars speculate that one of the major goals of the KoW's conquest was to capture this shrine intact and turn it into a manufacturing center for slave bracelets and collars. As of 1621, no outsider is sure if this is true, or even if the shrine is functioning. #Involuntary initiates of Thed will be described in another article. Besides the broo, repeat rapists are her major source of worship in the world and a reason for her continuing power. ##Local legend supports the idea that the Earth was raped by a chaotic demon in this dale, giving rise to the "mudbugs" which are found in Perfe's environs but only rarely elsewhere. Unlike most chaotic creatures, the mudbugs are practically harmless, living on decaying leaves and suchlike. They have the power to sink into the soil when attacked or frightened, leaving behind a tiny, stinking lump of mud. No efforts are undertaken to eradicate them; the locals occasionally amuse themselves by telling wandering Storm Bulls or other chaos fighters that the small and harmless but elusive creatures are Chaos manifestations and then watching the mighty warriors stand guard over a patch of ground and try to smash the mudbugs whenever they pop up. ###"Three Benevolent Goddesses: Voria, Ernalda and Asrelia. Three their Dark Sisters: Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, and Ty Kora Tek," but occasionally also: "three secret faces, unknown to men." Supposedly (according to Jrustin Falos, a God learner sage) each of the six (or nine) goddesses are all facets of the One Goddess Glorantha. Ernalda & Maran Gor are supposedly pieces or aspects of Arachne Solara, Voria & Babeester Gor aspects of Glorantha the Creatrix. Ty Kora Tek and Asrelia the Collector and Hoarder are supposedly aspects of "She Who is Not To Be Named", all Nine Goddesses being parts of "SHE WHO IS". Jrustin's fate is not recorded; he mysteriously disappeared shortly before the Closing. Economy The major products of Perfe are agricultural goods such as oats, barley, millet, and various woods. Most of the actual production goes to domestic consumption; some is exported. Of lesser gross value, but disproportionate in their effect on foreign trade, are knit woolen goods, vellum, hand-crafted wood inlays of furniture, and an extraordinarily stable perfume base of unknown composition. Since the Opening, Perfe has been slowly building up its perfume industry again; by 1620, they supplied many of the major Janube cities with luxury perfumes. It remains to be seen (in 1621) whether this industry will continue under the Kingdom of War's brutal reign. Money is based on the old Theyalan silver standard, although the new "metric" gold standard coins of Loskalm (developed during the Ban) are making gradual headway. Perfe mints its own silver coins, and welcomes gold coinage of any legitimate stripe. Important in the economy of the city are the grain merchants, controlled mostly by the various senatorial families and the Ernalda temple, which gets one/seventh of most peasant's produce; wool-related guilds, such as the Dyer's Guild, the Knitters, etc.; several large 'banks', all but one controlled by Senatorial families; the Carpenter's Guild; the Shipbuilders Guild; and two or three river-merchant houses. The Perfume industry is mostly in the hands of the Aligorn family. Organized crime exists in Perfe but they try to avoid violence. Muggers, etc. are relatively rare but not unknown. Black-market trading and other illegal dealings probably form around 5% of the economy, which is unusually low. Cynics point at the strong-arm thugs of the various Senatorial families "bodyguards" as filling the niche normally taken up by criminals. Most of the criminal business is actually probably controlled by "legitimate" figures, such as Senators. Laws Perfe does not have a single written constitution of the type familiar to modern nation-states. Its laws are a collection of written codes promulgated by the Senate, time-honored customs, decisions of regulatory bodies (such as the Shipwright's Guild or the Temple of Perfe) and judicial precedent. In the city most cases are decided by judges selected by the Temple of Perfe. Serious crimes such as sedition are heard either by judges appointed by the Senate for this purpose, or, in rare cases such as high treason, by the full Senate in session. In the countryside, intra-family peasant disputes are usually settled by family heads; inter-family disputes are referred up to the landowner or his representative. Cases between landowners are tried by a jury of peers under a government-appointed judge; strangely, some landowning peasants have sat on juries in judgement of the great landowners. This system is a relic of the old days when land was much more evenly distributed. Much of Perfe law is based on Orlanthi tribal custom; the "Player's Book" of the Genertela pack has good references on these customs. A small set of written laws, sometimes contradictory, has been passed by the Senate in imitation of Loskalmi law codes and as a relic of the days Loskalm ruled the area. Of special interest are certain laws regulating weapons, magic, and commerce. Weapons mightier than a staff or dagger require a special license to carry, as does armor. These licenses are issued by the Temple of Perfe or by the Senate. The various armed forces and the militia are not only allowed but required to maintain a certain level of arms and armor at their own expense or that of a sponsor; people not in the above categories find it much more difficult and must either demonstrate true need to the bureaucracy (very difficult), find an influential sponsor (the usual way for mercenaries in Senatorial pay) or bribe an official (the only route open to "adventurers"). The license includes an agreement on the part of the licensee to use their weaponry responsibly; civil fines and criminal penalties may follow abuse of the aforesaid weapons. Magic is treated as a normal component of life in Perfe and the laws reflect this. There is no special category of "black magic"; however, those who disturb the peace, assault one another with magic, etc. are certainly subject to the usual penalties for these acts. Offensive magic is considered a "weapon" and must be registered as per the above regulations; since it is difficult to separate a magician from his powers a license is usually issued for the powers at some reasonable (from the city's point of view) fee. This licensing might cost one-tenth of a sorcerer's projected income during his time in Perfe if he negotiates the cost smoothly. Commerce is largely in the hands of the Senators, and to a lesser extent the Ernalda temple and certain Guilds. They are jealous of their privileges and all transactions with outsiders must legally go through an established Perfan import-export business or baking establishment; this cuts the profitability of trade with Perfe by perhaps 5-10% due to higher export prices and lower import prices. Black marketeers can do slightly better than normal by slipping in to distribute foreign luxury goods or real weapons to the perfan populace; those caught will be at least stiffly fined and barred from Perfan trade for a year or more. Military During the isolation imposed on Perfe by the Syndic's Ban, the military largely decayed into a hereditary Guard with only 147 members and 147 active reservists. Since the end of the Ban this City Guard has become increasingly professional and military, however, and by 1620 the Guard is made up of weapon masters. These 294 men and women (95% men) form the hard core of Perfe's army. Most of the Senatorial families maintained a private force of club-wielding bullies during the Ban. Since the Opening these have evolved into real private armies with the responsibility for policing each family's property and certain sections of the city. These "cohorts" also owe military service if Perfe is attacked. Coming under the same legal umbrella, but separately organized, are the marines who protect the merchant ships of Perfe. Perfe has no real warships but certain well-armed merchant ships can serve this function in time of need. The "cohorts" range in size from ten for some of the smallest Families and up to almost two hundred for the Aligorns. They total about 650 well-armed and trained soldiers. The Ernalda Temple complex maintains "The Forty-Nine", expert warriors available for temple defense and defense of the city if necessary. The Forty-Nine are commanded by a Wind Lord of Orlanth, or the highest ranking Orlanthi warrior if no Wind Lord is available. Thus the city has about 1,000 professional warriors to defend it in times of need. Should more men be needed, every peasant owes sixty days of military service a year in foreign campaigns or indefinite service in defense of the state. This militia is very poorly trained indeed in 1600, but increasingly competent as the years go by. In addition, the Senate of Perfe is skilled in the hiring of mercenaries. Almost as soon as the Ban was lifted they realized the poor state of their defenses and contracted with three mercenary groups to defend the city and to help train their warriors. As the three groups were essentially Malkioni, Humakti, and Yelmali in composition, the Senate believed (correctly, as it turned out) that no one group would wind up taking over the essentially defenseless city due to the jealousy of the other two groups. These three companies, and later, other mercenaries, add anywhere up to three thousand soldiers to the defense of the city. (This last figure was reached only during the siege of Perfe by the Kingdom of War. A typical peacetime figure might be between three and six hundred foreign mercenaries altogether, mostly in Senatorial employ.) The Guard Commander (in 1620) is John Acropolis. He is one of the few hereditary Guard members who survived the travails after the opening of Perfe around 1600; when it became apparent that the outer world was a dangerous place indeed he sold most of his family heirlooms and went downriver to attend the University in Sog. Ten years later he returned to Perfe armed with various obscure and powerful magics and demanded reinstatement into the Guard; within three more years he was named Commander. He is genuinely dedicated to his city and will defend it with his life if necessary. However, he enjoys his position and status and is not above enriching himself by accepting judicious bribes; no one will really fault him for this practice, common enough in Perfe. He uses the Guard as both a military force and customs police and wishes to increase the number and quality of men in his command; the Senate keeps turning down his requests. After 1620, John and the hundred or so Guards who escaped the fall of Perfe form the core of a mercenary company employed by the Count of Einpor against the Kingdom of War. It is notable that John died in the defense of his city and that his men escaped with his body to have him resurrected; he bears some interesting facial scars from the V'rang which the shamans of the attacking force sent to slay him. (The V'rang are the ghosts of certain Krjalki slain after the fall of Wakboth; no-one is quite sure if they were chaotic or just extremely nasty. Given blood and POW, they can assume a temporary form and will relentlessly track any individual whose "psychic scent" they are given. Just one of the many tricks up the Kingdom of War's sleeve.) John is always ready to hire reliable and competent warriors to replace the steady stream of those who are slain by the enemy. New members of the company get the most dangerous assignments; John tries to preserve the Perfan survivors as much as possible. His goal is to survive until the Liberation of Perfe can be accomplished. Other Characters & Points of Interest. Visiting Perfe River traders visiting Perfe usually stay in one of the waterfront inns or as guests in private homes of trade contacts or friends. Visiting diplomats and the like are generally given guest rooms at the Temple of Perfe or in the home of a Senatorial family; visiting Earth priestesses are offered quarters at the Ernalda temple. Foreigners are viewed with both greed and suspicion by the common people; innkeepers and the like will attempt to fleece them at inflated prices unless outmaneuvered or intimidated. Very few foreigners are ever attacked by Perfans but pickpockets are a distinct possibility. Perfe has a few "tourist attractions" such as the Temple of Perfe itself (a largish building faced with green marble) but on the whole is a pretty dull place. Adventuring in Perfe Before 1620 Perfe has no need for and disapproves of both foreign and domestic "adventurers". Typical scenarios involving Perfe might include diplomats attempting to jockey Perfe into an alliance, river traders seeking to establish trade with Perfe or to get an exclusive distribution contract from the Perfumer's Guild (controlled by the Aligorn family), tribesmen attempting simple trade or scouting for a raid against Perfe's farmland, or refugees fleeing the Kingdom of War seeking asylum. Perfe's borders are watched but not heavily patrolled, but the city itself is walled and warded to some extent. Strangers entering Perfe are not allowed to carry weapons mightier than a staff or dagger or to wear armor; these items can be stored for a nominal fee at the various gatehouses of the city. Licenses for legitimate merchant's bodyguards may be obtained for a large fee or a medium bribe. Troublemakers will be penalized or evicted from the city limits and shown the way to the border. After 1620: Perfe under the occupation of the Kingdom of War is a good site for resistance fighters, Loskalmi spies, etc. Former nobles and Ernalda acolytes could be forced to cooperate with the criminal element and downtrodden peasantry to avoid being carried off into serfdom themselves. Native Perfans returning to spy against the Kingdom of War might be fun to play. Adventurers from Perfe Perfe is a reasonable home town for adventurers especially if your campaign is set during or after the conquest by the Kingdom of War. A noble, his few remaining bodyguards, and some specialists such as a family priestess or a sorcerous healer might be a good party to try to make their way in the world and possibly to help in the recovery of their homeland. Mercenaries, either independent or in John Acropolis' company, might make good characters. ====================================================================== From: CRIMMARTI@urvax.urich.edu (Martin Crim) Subject: Garhound Founding Legends This document gives some of the background to my current Sartar campaign. It gives information all the player characters would have, in the form in which they would have heard it. Like all histories, it puts a framework around a portion of a seamless, complex, often baffling river of events. It is probably no less accurate than modern history, but it follows different rules. GARHOUND FOUNDING LEGENDS 1. HOW THE TRIBE WAS FOUNDED Before Belintar became Pharaoh, but after he had swum ashore [roughly 300 years ago, or 12 generations as the Sartarites reckon], Swen and his family left Heortland. In those days, the land here was just called Dragon Pass, or the Haunted Lands, or worse names. No humans lived here, except the Grazelanders in the west. Swen walked here without fear, because he was a big man, stout of heart, and endowed with mighty thews. His wife spoke with the voice of the goddess, and appeased the spirits of the land. Other clans and families went up at about the same time as Swen's family, so Swen staked out his land to protect his kin. Swen laid the cornerstone of his longhouse, that was to become his city. His family slept that night in a long tent, and he set out guards. However, during the time of night when the bullfrogs croak, trolls slung bullets at his guards and slew them without a sound. Then all the trolls and trollkin crept up towards the tent, with nothing to protect the sleeping folk within. All at once, there came a loud barking and snarling, but eerie and spectral, sounding like it came from far away or from underground. Everyone inside the tent awoke, shivering and with their hair standing on end. They seized weapons and torches, and rushed outside the tent. They saw the hideous trolls, and fell upon them with a shout. As they were fighting trolls, blue-gray dogs attacked the trolls from the rear. Between the dogs and our valiant fighters, the trolls had no chance. They broke and fled, and were cut down. Then a blue dog spirit approached Swen. Swen greeted the dog in friendship, and the dog replied with praise. Swen offered the hospitality of his home, and the dog accepted humbly. The embodied dogs followed the dog spirit into the long tent, and have lived with us ever since. The blue dog spirit, called the Garhound, wanders the hills and plains of our lands, often at night. He always returns to Swen's longhouse, though, to be by his friend and master. Thus it was that Swen's kin took the name of Garhound, and tattoed that mark on themselves as a sign of the alliance that helped them in the new land. SWEN MAN, HARMONY SPIRIT CULT: CITY AND TRIBE-FOUNDER Spirit Magic: Coordination, Extinguish, Protection, Repair Divine Magic: Common: Binding Enchantment, Command Cult Spirit, Dismiss Magic, Divination, Extension, Heal Wound, Mindlink, Sanctify, Soul Sight, Spell Matrix Enchantment, Spellteaching, Spirit Block, Summon Cult Spirit, Warding, Worship Swen; Special: City Harmony, Shield Subservient Cult: The Garhound Special Divine Magic: Howl (1 point, self, temporal, stackable, reusable). Allows the caster to howl like a preternaturally loud hound. The howl awakens all within 1 kilometer per point of the spell. Prolonged howling can communicate with other cultists within that range, as if it were normal speech. Outside that range, the howl cannot be understood. 2. HOW THE ALLIANCE WITH THE HIGH LLAMAS HAPPENED After Swen had built his longhouse and raised the palisade around it, he looked to the east and saw a horde of Sable Riders coming up the valley. His sons drove his cattle and sheep into the palisade and shut the mighty gates. The Sable Queen rode up and demanded tribute, but Swen refused. The Queen's archers launched flaming arrows into the palisade, but Swen's sons put them out before they could burn the longhouse. The Queen then set a portion of her tribe to besiege the fortress, and she plundered the valley. While she was away, Swen led his sons out in a foray against the Sable Riders. Although they were outnumbered, Swen's band had the advantages of surprise and their fighting dogs. As the battle hung in the balance, a troop of High Llama riders loped over a nearby hill. The Sable Riders, fearing a lance charge, turned and ran. Swen cut them down like stalks of grain. The High Llama Men praised Swen for his prowess and courage. Their leader was a Wind Lord named Anvil Head, who swore that any enemy of his enemy was his friend. Anvil Head and Swen dismounted and clasped hands. Then they exchanged gifts, and feasted together. Since that day, our tribe and the High Llama Tribe have been friends. 3. HOW WE CAME TO OWN PIMPER'S BLOCK When Swen came to this land, Pimper's Block already stood, a market city for all Praxians. The oasis people lived there, and served and sold to all the human Praxians. After Swen became a god, one of his sons went there to buy slaves. This son's name was Knut. Knut was a hot-tempered man, a follower of the Storm Bull. He had taken a wife from the High Llama Tribe, who calmed his rages. He had been on the pilgrimage to The Block, and had been to Pimper's Block many times before. Knut went to the chief man of the city of Pimper's Block. This chief man was of the oasis people, and small and craven like all his kin. Knut paid the chief for the right of first pick of all slaves brought in that week. The chief accepted payment. Then Knut paid for a place to stay while he viewed the captives. The chief gave him a dank, smelly house to live in, worse even than the dark, filthy huts the oasis people live in. Knut was angry, but held his temper because this was not his land. The next day, however, Knut heard that some slaves had been brought in and sold without his knowledge. Knut returned to the chief in a fury. The chief's brazen lies and craven whimpering drove Knut into a berserk frenzy, and he struck off the chief's head with a single blow. Then he seized the chief's house and property. That day, Knut declared himself Lord Mayor of Pimper's Block. He ruled till the end of his life, and his sons after him, until the Lunars came. But the people there are still mostly oasis people, but with a large number of Zwaard clan folk of our tribe. Under Knut's rule, the city grew and built new fortifications. Buyers came from Tarsh and the Holy Country. Now the Lunars refuse to treat the city as part of the Garhound kingdom. It is under the rule of a lunar Etyries priest. They take the first choice of slaves and pay below market prices. 4. THE COMING OF KING SARTAR This land was twenty-four separate kingdoms before King Sartar took the High Throne. That was almost 5 generations ago. Sartar didn't become king overnight, though. He first traveled all around the various kingdoms as a simple traveler, meeting and talking with all folk, both lords and commoners. He traveled alone at first, but gradually acquired several followers. One was a big fellow named Geo, who later founded his own cult. Sartar never told why he was travelling, except that he wanted to meet all the inhabitants of Dragon Pass. He said the same thing in Beast Valley, Sun Dome County, the Grazelands, Black Horse County, and Tarsh. He would never take part in anyone's horse, cattle, or even sheep raid. He never offended anyone, and always had a good word for the folk he had met. Then Sartar went back again to the seventeen tribes he liked the best, and told them to send one representative for a great ritual to Orlanth he planned in the Quivin Mountains. He didn't say what the ritual would be. Anyway, all the tribes except Sun Dome County sent representatives. The Sun Domers said they didn't care about Orlanth rituals. The sixteen tribes were the Vedda, the Kanikar pygmies, the Irular, the Kada, us Garhounds, the Yenadi, the Kheldon, the Shabar, the Colymar, the Khond, the Aranwyth, the Maboder, the Malani, Tworidge Farm, the Culbrea, and the Torkani. Sartar did the ritual, and it turned out to be a double ritual. In part, he traced the outline for a city, which he called Boldhome. All the tribal representatives had to participate, because they had agreed to enter the Orlanth ritual. The other part was a coronation. Sartar spoke to all present that the lands of Dragon Pass needed a High King, and he spoke wisely. All agreed that he should be King over them all, so the Patriarch of the Old Wind Temple, who represented the Irular, crowned Sartar High King over Dragon Pass. The next day, Sartar wed the Feathered Horse Queen of the Grazelands, confirming his right to rule. The biggest thing Sartar did after that was to pacify the Telmori. Those wolf-runners had plagued Dragon Pass since before we came out of Heortland. Sartar made a treaty with them, set boundaries for their land, and accepted their oaths of fealty and homage. ====================================================================== From: David Gadbois
Subject: Delecti and the Upland Marsh Ken McKinney and I have been working on some material set in the Upland Marsh. We are having to make a lot of assumptions about how it got to be the way it is and the way things work there. There is surprisingly little published about Delecti himself, even though he (it?) is a very memorable Dragon Pass personality. We recently sent a letter off to Greg Stafford with our questions, but I thought it might be good to open up the matter for general discussion. The rest of this message is mostly from the letter we sent. First, for easy reference, here are some passages about Delecti that we were able to find: In Dragon Pass, page 19: Delecti the Necromancer lived in one of the chief cities of the Empire of the Wyrm's Friends. Delecti's practice of his arts led to a curse falling upon the city; it declined to ruin, and the surrounding countryside became a terror-filled swamp. By his arts, Delecti achieved a gruesome form of immortality: he was able to transfer his spirit into a freshly slain corpse and live through it until the rotting flesh could no longer sustain him; at that time, he would seek out another corpse. Delecti's greatest military asset was his ability to create and maintain armies of zombies. In Cults of Terror, page 48: ... During time, the Hero-Priest Delecti has grown to great power and fame in the Upland Swamps of Dragon Pass. ... ... In the Upland Marsh, Delecti and his cult rule a wretched kingdom. ... Also in the Vivamort cult writeup, there is mention of a ``mysterious council [of Vivamort cultists], composed of the oldest and most powerful heroes and priests.'' In The Genertela Book, page 54: Delecti was a powerful lord of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends who broke the barrier between life and death, obtaining immortality, and the ability to construct monstrosities whose existence perverts the very idea of life. When the enemies of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends invaded the land Delecti used his magic to create the Upland Marsh, where he has lived, protected, ever since. In The Genertela Book, page 60: Upland Marsh: This plot was solid earth once until ensorcelled by Delecti the Necromancer, a magician who reached magus level about 800 years ago. He did it to save himself and his followers from the Golden Horde. It succeeded, and he ``lives'' there still, an immortal vampire. Within the treacherous bogs, streams, and sand bars are many undead strongholds. Delecti's Ruins, vast acres of fallen buildings, are inhabited by his bizarre undead constructs. In the waters swims an undead killer whale. Assuming that The Genertela Book was written from the perspective of 1621 and that Delecti became a magus at about 40, from the last passage we can infer that he was born in about 780. We suspect that sometime after becoming a magus, Delecti went on a major heroquest that took him to the point in mythology where Vivamort made his pact with the Devil. He may have gained his undead powers there. Is Delecti a vampire? The Dragon Pass description conflicts with the one in The Genertela Book and the one in the cult writeup of Vivamort in Cults of Terror. We suspect not, though only on the basis that the earlier description is more colorful. It may not be incompatible for Delecti to be head of a Vivamort center of power even though he is not a vampire, and the later descriptions of him as vampiric may just be exaggerations. What are Delecti's powers? We surmise that he can cause corpses to arise as zombies at will and maintain them as such for as long as he keeps them in sight or in the sight of another one of the zombies. This may mean that he would be aware of all the goings on in the Marsh through his zombie spies. What was Delecti's position in the Empire of the Wyrms Friends? Did he use the dragon magic that was available then, and was he able to retain the magic after the rest of the Glorantha lost it? How was the Marsh made? We have several theories. One is that it was made via fairly standard though massive use of elementals in order to provide obvious physical protection against the True Golden Horde and Dragonkind. Another is that it was a byproduct of Delecti's gaining his undead powers -- the Earth recoiled from him as it did from Vivamort, and the the Creek and the Stream filled in the gap. Finally, we think that Delecti may have done some further heroquesting involving perhaps the earth and dragonnewt runes, and that the Marsh may have been a byproduct. What saved Delecti from the Dragonkill War? Clearly, the Marsh would not provide much protection at all against a True Dragon. Perhaps Delecti was not even targeted by the dragonkind during the war, since he not human at that point and was in any case a target of the main victims of the war, the True Golden Horde. What is the nature of the Marsh? If it did indeed provide protection during the Dragonkill War, it would have to somehow nullify the Dragonnewt rune and/or dragon magic. What is the relation between Duckpoint and the Marsh? We guess that ducks may have the affinity for death cults that they do because of their proximity to the Marsh. --David Gadbois ====================================================================== From: Jamie O'Shaughnessy Subject: RuneQuest Chimera THE CHIMERA A chaos version of the classic fantasy monster STR 6d6+12 33 Move : 2m/SR on ground, 6m/SR flying CON 3d6 10-11 HP : 25 SIZ 4d6+24 38 Fatigue : 22 INT fixed -- MP : 10-11 POW 3d6 10-11 DEX SR : 3 DEX 3d6 10-11 location melee missile points RH Leg 1-2 1 4/6 LH Leg 3-4 2 4/6 Hindquarters 5 3-5 4/9 Forequarters 6-7 6-9 5/10 R Wing 8-9 10-11 4/7 L Wing 10-11 12-13 4/7 RF Leg 12-13 14 5/6 LF Leg 14-15 15 5/6 Goat Head 16-17 16-17 4/8 Lion Head 18-19 18-19 6/9 Gragon Head 20 20 8/8 weapon SR Att% Damage Claw* 6 50 1d6+3d6 Goat Horns 6 50 1d4+3d6 Lion Bite 6 50 1d10+3d6 Dragon Bite 6 50 1d8+3d6 Breath 3 50 fire damage equal to CON done in location Chaotic Feature : POW*3 chance of having one. [Any volunteers to write up a brief description of it, and perhaps something about chimeras and Glorantha?] ====================================================================== The RuneQuest(tm) mailing list is a courtesy of Andrew Bell. All opinions and material above are the responsibility of the originator, and copyrights are held by them. Unless specified in the specific article, all RQ Digest material is freely redistributable on a not-for-profit basis as long as author credit is included. RuneQuest is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. Send submissions, mailing list changes, requests for old article lists, etc. to: email@example.com ...!mcnc!unc!bell Request old articles by volume number and issue number.