Sartar vs the Empire

From: Erik Sieurin (
Date: Sat 31 May 1997 - 20:42:18 EEST

King Sartar is my favorite fantasy hero. I consider the creation of
the kingdom of Sartar to be a great deed. You see, he combined the
Good Things of Civilisation with the Good Things of Theyalan

Personally, I instinctively HATE the "noble barbarian" stuff.
Your basic tribal Theyalans/Orlanthings are no people I would by a used car from,
want my daughter to marry or have as neighbours.

But Sartar greatly reduced the amount of bigotted infighting among
the tribes of his realm, while still keeping the Theyalan identity.
The Sartarites are very proud of this, and it is their reason why
they are The Best People (all cultures on Glorantha consider
themselves The Best People). IMC, Sartarites respect fabled Ralios
as a source of much ancient knowledge and tradition, while at the
same time laughing at the Ralian Orlanthings as "barbarians". Though
the City people are those with the strongest exotribal patriotism,
even the backwoods clans are proud to be citizens of the Kingdom.
(Though, of course, they are much BETTER citizens than the clan in
the next valley. You know, it was REALLY their great-great granpa,
who was Sartar's shoeshine boy, who gave the Founder all his best
ideas. Honestly.)

IMC, when the Lunars invaded Dragon Pass, they mostly did it because
they wanted a Way To The Sea. They then more or less accidentally
destroyed the Sartar concept by destroying the house of Sartar. This
has caused the tribes to degenerate back to their pre-Sartar state in
many cases. This is not only the result of the social changes due to
the Royal House being wiped out, it is a mythical effect. The
Creation of the Kingdom was the result of a Great Heroquest, and
it was held together by the magic of Unity and Cooperation. The Great
Theme of our heroic Gloranthan Campaign is the destruction of Unity.
More people die in Sartar because of the old tribal wounds reopening
than because of Lunar soldiers. Those who have most hatred of the
Lunars are those outside the tribes, because their lives and their
power bases are crumbling, and they can SEE that the standard of
living is rapidly deterioating for everyone else as well. The traders
of the cities, the guilded craftsmen, warriors like Kenth's character
who had chosen whom to serve instead of just guarding their uncle,
the clerks and civil servants of the old Kingdom. It is these people
who are rapidly being replaced with their Lunar equivalents.

Of course the Etyries merchant is more likely to rip you off than the
Issaries trader. Of course the Irrippi Ontor clerk is more corrupt
than the old Lhankor Mhy scribe. Of course the Yanafal Tarnils
soldier is more cruel than the Humakt Housecarl. To them, you are
just barbarian scum. But remember one thing: this does not mean that
the Issaries trader, the Lhankor scribe and the Humakti Housecarl
were nicer people. They were LESS likely to be rotten just because
they were your countrymen, and had a harder time forgetting that you
are a fellow human. They would graciously cheat, steal and kill
wantonly when dealing with non-Sartarites.

The Lunars did not destroy the Kingdom because they are Evil Scum,
but for practical reasons - they did it to take the land for
themselves, to gain control of trade routes and magical resources.
Someone mentioned CIA hitmen - _I_ always think of Lunar Empire as
the USA of Glorantha. The Lunar Faith have absorbed and eliminated
the threats of cruel Carmania, repressive Dara Happa and the horrible
Pentans. They embody ideals of Balance and harmony, equality of races
, creeds and sexes, they are the source of culture and learning.
AND they conquer small countries to extend their own power (no, I
know the US never has done that, just helped local rulers to power
who would support their interests), they employ extremely horrible
weapons of war, their secret service is ruthless and terrible.
They are quite interesting as the Great Evil Decadent Empire just
because they AREN'T Evil or Decadent most of the time. They are
excellent enemies. They come in all shapes and sizes.

I love to hate the Lunars. Some day I would like to play a campaign
where I can love to hate the Lunars, while the players ARE Lunars.
The honest bureaucrat fighting corruption, the genuinely nice officer
which rather would not be fighting the barbarians (Fazzur Widereads
unknown brother - anyone who has read the "Desert Peach" comic?), the
White Moon activists who start protest rallies against the occupation
of foreign territories, the Danfive Xaron secret agent who acts out
of patriotism and religious fervor who has to fight his superiors,
who acts out of sadism and power-lust ("The Runelord who came in from
the cold").

"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat..."
>From "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear

Erik Sieurin
Bodagatan 39, 2 tr
50742 Boras


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 17:00:13 EEST