pendulums

From: Carlson, Pam (carlsonp@wdni.com)
Date: Tue 27 May 1997 - 23:19:00 EEST


Martin Dick writes:

>I also think that to represent them [the Lunar Empire] as just this bunch of
really
nice guys and gals whose aim is merely to bring balm to the souls of
those poor unfortunate barbarians who don't yet worship the Red
Goddess is swinging the pendulum far too far.

Most would agree with you, Martin! That extreme POV is usually
mentioned only after a particularly rabid "Sartarites = the Good Guys"
post.

However, I think it is MGF to have a small faction of truely nice,
idealistic, & gentle people in the empire. (Maybe some 7 Moms clergy,
frex.) They make a nice contrast to the more common imperialist -"What?
 Barbarians are actually _human_?" POV. Correspondingly, there should
be kind and cruel folk among the Sartarites in roughly equal proportions
to the Lunars.

Then, unfortunately, your post goes on to laundry list all the
unpleasant (in Sartarite eyes) aspects of the empire, w/o considering
their derivations or alternatives. Frex:

>It has attacked Sartar several times prior the conquest of Sartar without as
far as I can see any real
provocation in political terms.

How about a long history of nasty invading armies marching out of the
south?

>It uses horrific magics such as the Skyburn and the Crimson Bat.

Skyburn - elves have made many attempts throughout history to reclaim
Pelorian fields. Don't tell me that the Sartarites wouldn't do the same
to the Trolls or Telmori if they had similar magical technology. Heck,
our Varmandi PC's would only stop long enough to ponder the cost in
cows...

Crimson Bat - brought by the Goddess to defeat the horrific Carmanians.
Have you read FS - what Carmanian rule was like? The bat is a definate
improvement.

>It employs people like the Char-Un barbarians in its army who from what I
have seen eclipse
any Dragon Pass Orlanthi in savagery.

Have to agree with you there. Though I'm not sure the Cha-un are much
worse than Praxians, who are occasional Sartarite allies.

> It assassinates rulers who are inconvenient for their plans of conquest eg.
the Pharoah and the King of Tarsh.

That is, I'm afraid, simply good politics. Sartarites try to kill their
enemies' leaders all the time - they are just not very good at it.

>It forcibly removes and enslaves the red-headed children of Pent.

As a way of ensuring Pentan loyalty to the Empire. You would rather see
more Imperial - Pentan wars? I'm sure those would be far _more_
humanitarian...

> It supports the Yelmic system of Dara Happa which oppresses the vast
majority
of the population in those areas and privileges the few.

Actually, the LE has greatly weakened this system. It could be argued
that the overthrow of oppressive and patriarchal rule was one of the
Goddess' primary motivations.

>It employs and gives positions of high power to men like Gim-Gim who would
definitely be executed in the Gloranthan equivalent of the Nuremberg
trials.

What do you think all those Barntarite farmers in Sartar think of
Humakti huscarls?

> One of the key cultures in the Empire (Alkoth and the Shargashi) are
dedicated to the destruction of all things and maintain practices which
are far more "barbaric" than those practiced by Sartarites in the 1500s
and 1600s.

Stictly POV. Our Alkothi PC's were horrified when they met their first
Humakti! (The idea of severing humans from eternal life is far more
terrible than any Shargashi philosophy.)
Even so, you can't blame Alkoth on the Lunars. Alkoth predates them by
A LOT, and the city is like an 800 pound gorilla. The Lunars can't do
much with it militarily, and economically it dominates the southern
Oslir. One could argue that the Lunars have done a pretty good job at
keeping Alkoth OUT of Sartar!

>Sartar -
 >established the Kingdom with a minimum of bloodshed,
>he built cities and established libraries,
>he built magical roads,
>he provided a means of settling disputes beyond the blood feud.
>He made peace between the Telmori and the Orlanthi.
>He seemed to maintain good relationships with all of his neighbours,
>he definitely increased the
>prosperity and peacefulness of Dragon Pass.

All true enough! Though the same could be said of the Goddess within
the LE. I think your original point was better - both peoples have
their good and bad points, and are perfectly reasonable cultures within
their historical contexts. Appreciate them both!

Pam
(Who plays both an Ernaldan gyda _and_ an Alkothi soldier - though not
in the same campaign...)

------------------------------

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