"The legions of the Reaching Moon came a generation ago, desecrating our temples, destroying the Old Ways. In the lowlands and the towns, the hand of the Red Emperor is at the people's throats, but here in the highlands we still live free as the wind that roars over the mountain peaks. We are the Haraborn of Black Stag Vale, and our clan has outlived false gods, Western sorcerers, and the lies of dragons. The Red Moon now thinks she can break us, and bend us to her filthy foreign ways. I say Shepelkirt is wrong. When Argrath comes as prophesied, and tears the Red Moon from the sky, we will still be here, faithful to our gods, loyal to our ancestors, and mindful of the ancient ways..."

- Joddi White Hart, Haraborn Lawspeaker

Monday, December 26, 2011

YOUR HOME (Part 2: Your Leaders)

A Heortling Clan Ring in Action

The Heortlings are governed by clan chieftains, a position held by election and mutual consent. These are, in turn, advised by the Clan Ring, a circle of thanes and advisors made up from the most powerful and influential members of the community. This Ring often consists of seven positions, in honor of Orlanth and the Lighbringers. Here are the leaders of your clan;

Chieftain (gsW): Gordangar Kenstrelsson is the clan chieftain, a shrewd survivor from a powerful bloodline. He hates and fears the Lunars as his father was killed by the Lunar Army at the Battle of Grizzly Peak. He is middle-aged, generous, and traditional. Gordangar maintains friendship with King Kangharl, even though he secretly despises him. He is a supporter of the Royal House of Sartar, although he fears that Temertain is to weak to rule.

Chief Thane (gyt): Jorgunath Bladesong leads the chieftain’s weaponthanes. He is a follower of Humakt, and adheres to a strict code of honor that colors his entire perception of the world. He believes in truth, duty, and death before dishonor, and has little patience for anyone else who does not abide by similar principles (Keladon Blue Eye is the primary target of his contempt).

Priest (gsR): Savan Kentrelsson is the clan’s fulltime priest and brother of Gordangar. He is haunted by prophecies of the Hero Wars and believes that the doom of the gods and men is rapidly approaching. He is a devotee of Orlanth and spends his life performing rituals to strengthen the storm gods. Savan is a passionate defender of the Royal House of Sartar. Some (like Keladon Blue Eye and Erinia Copperaxe) suspect he is half mad.

Priestess (dxl): Morganeth Jarlarant is the clan’s fulltime priestess and performs the rites at Ernalda’s sanctuary. She has powerful healing magic. Morganeth was born to the Ernaldor clan and has strong connections to the Colymar Earth Temple. She lost her eyesight when the Crimson Bat devoured Runegate. She dislikes Humakti, distrusts Vingans, and despises Uroxings; but she is always generous with her Healing magic to members of her clan and tribe.

Lawspeaker (gsk): Joddi White Hart is an elderly thane from a rival bloodline of the chief‘s. He is wise and discerning, and knows every legal procedure and tactic. He was never a warrior and knows little about fight (but much about dying as his father, brother and two sons all died fighting the Empire), but his advice to farmers is relied on by the more prudent carls of the clan.

Champion (gyt): Erinina Copperaxe is the most ferocious warrior of the clan. A warrior woman, half her head is shaved and the shoulder-length hair on the other side is dyed bloodred. Her body is adorned with tattoos and she carries a copper-bladed axe. Debate is not her strength: she relies on intimidation, bluster, and her fearsome reputation to get her way. Erinina is jealous of any perceived rival for glory or attention.

Skald (gik): Keladon Blue Eye is the chief poet, which a prodigious memory for songs and ballads and a sharp tongue that can instantly compose biting verse. Born with one blue eye and one gray, he is a follower of Eurmal the Trickster, and sees the world with skewed vision. To him, all things are a joke, or a game.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The Kingdom of Sartar fell to the Lunars in 1602. There have been numerous rebellions since then. The Lunars have put a puppet, Temertain, on the throne, and since the last major rebellion imposed punishing terms. These then, are the terms of your occupation;

The Lunar Peace

These are the terms negotiated in 1613 by Redbird on behalf of Temertain for settlement of hostilities between the Imperial forces of the great Red Moon Goddess and the rebellious tribes of the lands of Sartar:

• The Provincial Army is allowed to take control of the cities of Boldhome, Duck Point, Wilmskirk, Jonstown, Swenstown, Aldachur and Alone.

• Plunder and standards taken from the Lunar army at the Battle of Hofstaring’s Flood shall be returned to the Empire.

• Sartar is recognized as an independent client kingdom of the Empire. The King of Sartar agrees to accept a Lunar representative as an advisor.

• The rebellious tribes of the Kingdom agree to a tribute of one cow per free adult for the first year and half that each year in perpetuity.

• Sacrifices to and worship of the Rebel God Orlanth is forbidden.

• The person and property of Lunar citizens shall be inviolate.

• Temertain son of Jotisan of the line of Sartar is recognized as the legitimate King of Sartar by one and all.

• This treaty is valid for as long as there is a King in Sartar and a Moon in the Sky. May whoever breaks this treaty suffer the loss of the King or their Moon and their lives forfeit.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

YOUR HOME (Part 1)

Black Stag Vale

Located high in the Quinvin Mountains fifteen miles due west of Boldhome and at an elevation of roughly 6000 feet, lies the Haraborn community of Black Stag Vale The largest settlement in the Tula, it is home to some 350 people. The Haraborn chieftain, Hendor Andrinson, resides here at Black Stag Hall, along with his most loyal thanes. The Clan Ring assembles here every Windsday.

Geographically, the vale is a narrow v-shaped cleft between Mount Dragonwind and Three Fang, running north-south for some two and a half miles. At the north end plunges Black Stag Falls from a height of three hundred feet, where the waters pool in the Deer Pond before flowing southwards in a narrow, rushing stream known as the Deer Run. Near Deer Pond is Stag Hill, a conical mound crowned by seven dolmens arranged in a circle. Legend attests the hill is the burial mound of Jarstakos, an ancient Haraborn chieftain, and his thanes. It is sacred to Orlanth, and is the center of all male ritual activities in the Clan. A shrine to Orlanth is located on the east face of the hill, three quarters of the way up.

Six farmsteads hug the waters of the Run as they head south, each home to some 20-40 people. Black Stag Village--simply "the Village" to clan folk--sits on the east side of the Run in roughly the middle of the vale. It is home to some 170 people, including the chieftain's weaponthanes and their immediate families, as well as the redsmiths, horse grooms, and others needed to attend them. The clan market is here, and a shrine to Issaries. The Chieftain's Hall sits on a fortified hill overlooking the community. Near the southern extreme of the valley, carved into a sheer cliff face on the eastern edge of Mount Dragonwind, a stark square door enters the Riddle, a winding labyrinth carved in ancient days. This is holy to the Earth Tribe, and the shrines to both Ernalda and Uralda stand near the entrance. On the opposite side of the Run from these is the shrine to Barntar.

The Tula

The rest of the Haraborn Tula hugs the southwestern face of the Quinvins, with clans folk nestled into hidden valleys and folds. There are 27 Haraborn farmsteads outside of Black Stag Vale, ranging from a dozen to two score people. The Lunar census takers have had a difficult time even finding these steads, and have started to hire Heortling guides from rival clans to locate them. As a consequence, the Lunars currently count the Haraborn at around five hundred members, slightly less than two thirds the accurate number.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


You've chosen your gender and your name. You've received your Clan Keyword. You've started to play. In the game, you will be asked to pick your family (thus receiving a Professional Keyword), and your Runes. We'll talk a bit about them first.

Glorantha is made of Runes the way our universe is made of Periodic table elements. The Runes are powers, essences, gods, and spirits all at the same time. The Runes combine to create everything. For example, seaweed might be composed of the Runes for Water and Plant, fungi might be made up of Darkness and Plant, and cacti might be created from Fire and Plant.

Humans contain many Runic forces, but in every human being three are the most dominant. To pick yours, answer the following questions:

What is your nature?

1. Cold, cruel, and secretive

2. Mercurial, fluid, and ever changing

3. Pragmatic, prudent, and worldly

4. Passionate, violent, and unpredictable

5. Proud, loyal, and pure

Notes: 85% of Heortling men are #4, while 85% of Heortling women are #3. You can chose one of the others, but it will make things a bit more difficult for you down the road.

What is your personality like?

1. Forgiving, merciful, and peaceful

2. Destructive, reckless, and selfish

3. Generous and lustful

4. Relentless and unemotional

5. Stubborn, inflexible, and exacting

6. Adventurous, dynamic, and impulsive

7. Truthful and observant

8. Deceitful and amoral

Notes: If you decide to select two personality packages (see below) note that they are arranged in opposing pairs. Thus you could chose to be type 1 and 8 or 5 and 7, but not 1 and 2 or 5 and 6.

What are you interested in?

1. Woodlands, gardening, or farming

2. Animals, herding, riding

3. Socializing, community, people

4. Spirits and the invisible world

5. Being the best at everything

6. Magic

7. Trade and Communication

Notes: instead of selecting one of these, you can go back and pick a second set of personality traits.

Your Runes

Section One, "Your Nature"

1. Darkness 2. Water 3. Earth 4. Air 5. Fire

Section Two, "Your Personality"

1. Harmony 2. Disorder

3. Fertility 4. Death

5. Stasis 6. Motion

7. Truth 8. Illusion

Section Three "Your Interests"

1. Plant

2. Beast

3. Man

4. Spirit

5. Mastery

6. Magic

7. Communications

The Missing Runes

This list is not complete. "Luck" and "Fate" are omitted, as they govern all lives equally. Likewise, "Chaos" and "Moon" are missing, as Heortlings who manifest those are exiled or killed.


After your sex and a name, all you need to do is receive your Clan Keyword. Ta-dah! Here it is;

Member of Clan Haraborn

That's really all you need, because a "Keyword" is an umbrella covering all sorts of things. For the more detail oriented, some of those things are;

Member of Clan Haraborn
  • Break-out Abilities: Birthing and Healing (Women), Dragon Pass Geography, Farming, Heortling Customs, Ride Horses, Sheep Herding, Speak Sartarite, Spear and Shield Fighting (Men), Spinning and Weaving (Women), Walk with Snowshoes, Warfare (Men), Wilderness Survival

  • Break-out Virtues: Courageous, Rebellious, Traditionalist

  • Break-out Relationships: Duty to Clan, Fear Dragons, Hate Broo, Hate Undead, Hostile to Lunars, Uz Friends

And for those with a genuine thirst for knowledge, I provide the following words of the Clan Haraborn Lawspeaker...

Who are we?

We are the Haraborn Clan of Black Stag Vale. We stand with the proud Colymar Tribe, and are true to the line of Sartar. In ancient times these were our lands, when we followed Orgorvale the Summer Daughter and her outlander husband, Ulainn the Rider. We were here before the Atheist Necromancer made his marsh, before the people betrayed us to Dragons, before the Wyrms killed them all. We fled the Dragons into the South for a time, but followed Sartar out of exile to reclaim what has always been rightfully ours. We came back and retook our lands. Now the Men of the Reaching Moon have come to enslave us, but we will not be broken by them. These lands are ours!

Are we a great people?

The greatest! Before Time we were chosen by Kargan Tor and taught the riddles of War. Asrelia the Great Grandmother taught us the Sacrifice Dance, the source of great magic. Then came Umath the Storm, to free the world from the Bright Emperor, whose stagnant laws enslaved us all. We pledged ourselves to him and his son, Orlanth, and fought alongside the Storm Tribe against the aloof gods of the Sky. One of your ancestors was there beside Orlanth when he discovered the blade called Death, and when he used it to send the Emperor to Hell at the Battle of Extinguish Field. Orlanth liberated the cosmos, and we were there.

When Orlanth Victorious then married Ernalda, Asrelia's daughter, we made the Sacred Circle and stood watch so that their wedding would not be distrubed. This was during the Great Darkness, when the Darkness Tribe walked the surface world. Sent by Orlanth into the Underworld, the Bright Emperor tried to enforce his laws there and forced the People of Darkness out. Homeless, they wandered the world. We accepted some of them, the Jars Antanggi, as brothers and equals because our Clan has never taken slaves. We know all men must be free! They taught us their darkness magics, and ever since some of our boys and girls are born with black eyes and hair. Also, the Uz recognize us as distant kin and our relations with them have always been good.

In the Great Darkness everyone suffered, because the Unholy Trio broke the world and let the Devil inside. The legions of Chaos came with him and many gods died. We fought the Children of Thed, one of the Unholy Trio, and the Atheist sorcerers who came from the West blaming Orlanth for killing the sun. When Orlanth led the Seven Lightbringers into Hell to bring back the Sun and make the cosmos right again, we stayed behind and fought beside his brother, Humakt, Lord of Death. We fought and won. Chaos was defeated and the world changed.

And for the rest? This I have told you. We settled these lands and kept them even when the False God Gbaji came, and Arkat arrived to destroy him. We held them until the Evil Empire of Dragons was made, when people gave themselves to Wyrms and forgot the Old Ways. Then we went south, and the Dragons ate all the fools. We waited and dreamed of taking back our ancient home.

What are the differences between Men and Women?

Of course you know the obvious differences, and have been told about the Sheath and the Sword. And you know that men are like Orlanth; passionate, temperamental, rash, driven by emotion. Women are more like Ernalda; cool, calculating, patient, planning. Orlanth taught us that “No one can make you do anything” and that “violence is always an option.” Ernalda taught us “there is always another way.”

But soon you will take the adulthood rites and the differences will become more clear. Boys have in them the Breath of Men that must be awoken, and girls must give birth to their True Selves. Men exist to kill, to break, to bring change. Women exist to mend, to heal, and to make new life.

Of course, we also know that some Men are called by Ernalda and the Earth Tribe, and some Women by Vinga the Warrior Daughter and the Air Tribe. This is natural and right and accepted. So long as they love the Clan, we have no right to interfere in a person's true nature.

Why am I here?

You were brought here by your mother and father, clothed in flesh by Ernalda and given breath by Orlanth. You are here to support and love your Clan, to make certain that it continues as it always has, to help it survive. This may mean fighting for it, or it may mean giving it another generation of children.

But understand, the Clan is here to do the same for you. We will all support you, and help you to survive. And this is right and proper, for the world is full of enemies.

Who are my enemies?

Of course we hate Chaos, for it is Unholy and Unnatural. And we hate the Broo, the Children of Thed who breed in rape. Also we hate Delecti the Atheist, who turned the fertile lowlands we once lived in into a poisonous swamp, filled with his walking dead.

But our great enemy is the Evil Emperor, who comes time and time again in different forms and guises. First, before Time, he came as Yelm the Sun, the Bright Emperor who tried to make us obey his silly laws. Orlanth slew him and made us free. Then after Time began, and the sun was tamed, the First Council made the false God Gbaji, and the Evil Emperor lived again. So we allied with Arkat, even though he was an outsider and an Atheist, and joined his armies. We helped slay the Evil Emperor again.

In the Second Age that followed the foolish lowland peoples bowed down to a new Evil Emperor, the Inhuman King of the Dragonewts. And since no one can kill dragons—they just come back again!--we were forced to leave our ancestral lands and go south in exile. But soon they were given what they deserved for betraying Orlanth, and the dragons ate them all. Good riddance! We were in the southlands then, and yet another Evil Emperor came, calling himself the God-King. And when all the crazy southlanders bowed down to him we wisely decided to come home to Dragon Pass and the lands that are ours.

So we followed Sartar, who united the Tribes and made a new Kingdom. Things were right and good and the Old Ways were restored. But then, again, the Evil Emperor came, this time as the Son of the Red Moon. Our kingdom fell, but we are not broken. And the Lunars will know someday soon our wrath.

I have heard some Clans have embraced the Lunars, why do we not?

Because we are not craven dogs that roll on their bellies with their tales between their legs! We hate the Lunars, yes, but we hate the Wahote, the Yestina, the Sidask, and the Hyal Jalasor even more! These four Clans are our neighbors and kin, but they have betrayed all that we stand for, and for what? To be rewarded by their new masters with better farmland, milder taxes, and other favors? They are whores who have allowed themselves to be bought, and now we must make war upon them as we shall do upon the Lunars.

Then who are our friends?

Above all you may always rely on your Clan. But we are not without allies! You know that the Blackrock Clan is kin to us, and that many of our sons and daughters marry from them. Our blood runs together in life and battle. And the Rokarth and the Kalintor are pledged to us, and we to them, as we have all kept the Old Ways and hate the Lunars. And though many people fear the Trolls, we have a great secret, an ancient pact with them from the Days Before Days. In great need, the Trolls will come.

Who are my gods?

Of course we are the people of Orlanth, the King of the Gods, Patron of Men, and God of the Storm. We follow him and his Tribe, his sons, the Thunder Brothers, his allies, and his kin. His wife Ernalda is the Earth, and she knows the secrets of women. She sends spirits into the world and takes them back when we die. She sends us grain and vegetables and fruit, and makes our livestock thrive.

We have, you know, a special bond with dread Humakt. He was Orlanth's brother until Eurmal the Trickster fooled him into killing Grandfather Mortal. Thus he became the God of Death. But Humakt is honorable and just, and though he severed all ties with the Storm Tribe to be the One Who Stands Alone, he loves those who love Orlanth still. And in the Great Darkness we followed him while Orlanth was performing the Lightbringer's Quest.

There are many other gods in the Storm Tribe. There is Barntar, who teaches us the secrets of farming, and the Lightbringers who followed Orlanth into Hell...Chalana Arroy the Healer, Lhankor Mhy the Lawspeaker, Issaries the Traveller, Eurmal the Trickster, Flesh Man, and mysterious Ginna Jar. We honor them too.


After deciding if you are male or female, the next question is a name. Pick a prefix and a suffix from the collection below that sounds good to you. Don't worry about family (bloodline) names yet, or nicknames. You'll get those in play.


Prefixes: Andrin, Andror, Avent, Bar(n), Ber(es/en), Bro, Dar, Der, Des(tor), Din, Enjos, Erin, Fin, Gar(in), Hantra, Har(an), Hed(kor), Hend, Jar(star), Kor(l), Korol, Kul, Lon(d), O(r), Orl, Orst, Orvan, Rasta, Ros, Sar(o), Sen(ren), (S)tark, V(a/e)n, Varan.

Suffixes: ‑alor. ‑(al)des, ‑and, ‑angian, ‑arl, ‑aventus, ‑brast, ‑dath, ‑daral, ‑dovar, ‑drinor, ‑dros, ‑durev, ‑en, ‑estan, ‑fin, ‑gandi, ‑ganvar, ‑gor, ‑gradus, ‑harl, ‑kar, ‑kos, ‑(l/v)anth, ‑lakar, ‑larant, ‑(l)or, ‑makt, ‑manar, ‑(m)arl, ‑mast, ‑niskis, ‑onil, ‑orth,

‑rik, ‑rolar, ‑serian, ‑staval, ‑tand, ‑tar, ‑(g/l)ulf, ‑veste, ‑venos, ‑vil.

It is common for men to take the name of gods or heroes (Barntar, Durev, Elmal, Harmast, Hendrik, Heort, Orlanth, Silkinister, etc), great kings (Hofstaring, Saronil, Tarkalor) or of ancestors (Garan, Korlmar, Ulanin, Straval, etc) as a prefix or



Prefixes: A(r), Dara, Ent, Erin, Ernal(da), Esra, Esrol, Har, Ivarn, Jareen, Jarnarn, Jen, Kall, Ken, Leika, Lon(d), Mern, Natal, Ondur, Onel, Oran, Sen(ren), Yan, Yerest.

Suffixes: ‑a, ‑ala, ‑ale, ‑arios, ‑(er)landa, ‑(d)essa, ‑(d)estra, ‑(d)inna, ‑(d)rella, ‑(d)urisa, ‑(i/y)r, ‑ran(d)a, ‑renava, ‑sin, ‑sulva, ‑vale

It is common for women to take the name of goddesses or heroes (Ernalda, Ivarne, Kev, Uralda, Voria, etc) or of ancestors (Orgorvale, Serias, Vestene, etc) as a prefix or suffix.


When players come to the table, the only thing they start the game with is a gender, a name, and the Clan Haraborn "Keyword" (more on those later). In this post, we'll talk briefly about gender.

"...The Orlanthi view the genders as being different but inseparable. Despite the external appearance of masculine dominance, women maintain social and personal equality. All adult women can speak in clan assembly, and if a clan “Weapon Taking” vote is called any meat cleaver, spoon, cooking pot used for three meals or sewing kit qualifies women for a vote. Men, by contrast must provide a shield, long knife, large spear, sword, and “strong hat.”

Gender roles are divided and typical. Thus plowing, wood crafts, hunting and smithing are masculine tasks, while cooking, sewing, weaving, and household management are feminine. Men perform most jobs requiring heavy physical work, save for the perennial need for all hands to tend the harvest. Women manage the domestic economy of the hearth and household, negotiate marriages, and rear children. Almost all women are weavers; weaving is not generally considered a specialized craft.

Orlanthi men are feisty, unpredictable, and passionate, while Orlanthi women are cool, calculating, and self-possessed. Emotional expression is common to both genders, but is more common among men who habitually burst into rage, grief, happiness, fervor, or gloom. The contrast is expressed in the poem, “Orlanth’s Wooing of Ernalda,” wherein the earth goddess manipulates her wooer to ensure the rights of women among the Orlanthi. Men are expected to protect women, especially women of their clan.

The Orlanthi are open minded concerning individuals choosing the alternative gender role. History and legends include several famous women warriors associated with Vinga, Babeester Gor, or Humakt. Likewise, one famous male cook, Geo, has been enshrined as a minor but important cult figure.

Compared to many Gloranthan cultures, the Orlanthi have relatively few sexual taboos. They prohibit sex with people who have not been initiated as adults; with married people; with members of their own clan; and with not-people such as foreigners, Elder Races, animals, rocks, and the dead. Even those few taboos may not apply to members of certain cults or during certain religious rituals..."

- from Sartar, Kingdom of Heroes, Greg Stafford and Jeff Richard

Monday, December 12, 2011

YOU ARE HERE (A Very Brief Introduction)

You live in a world called "Glorantha." It's flat. The sky is a dome overhead, and Hell--the land of darkness spirits and the dead--is beneath (click to enlarge any picture).

Welcome to Three Seasons in Sartar. Because Glorantha is a big world, and there is tremendous depth to it, I will try to ease those of you new to the setting into the campaign as painlessly as possible. With that in mind, let me spare myself some 6000 words or so by starting with some pictures.

This is the northern continent of Genertela. It is about the same size as the continental United States, and has about the same weather. It's cold and frozen in the northern and warm along the southern coasts.

You live in a kingdom called "Sartar." Your country was invaded sixteen years ago by the Lunar Empire and now they rule you. Your people are not so wild about that arrangement.

You live in the high mountain valleys in a place that looks just like this.

You live on a small farmstead run by the oldest man and woman in your extended family. You live and work here with your parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

You are a "Heortling." You probably have blonde or red hair, though black is not uncommon. Your skin is fair. You will have lots of tattoos. Once you are initiated as an adult, you will have tattoos marking which clan and family you belong to. More will come later.

Men are farmers, hunters, and warriors. Women are farmers, cooks, mothers, and crafts-makers. However, men and women can formally change their gender roles. Women can become warriors and treated exactly like men, and vice versa. These women have done just that.