I like the Lunars.
I think that they are, fundamentally, the good guys. Correct me if I'm
wrong, but the Reaching Moon Megacorp material seems to assume that
the Lunars, while they may be rather sympathetic, are ultimately the
villains of Glorantha.
Speaking for myself,
I like the Lunar Way. I think that it is the most optimistic religion
in Glorantha. It offers a genuine hope of rebirth to the world.
I view the relationship
between the Lunar Way and the Lunar Empire as similar to that between
Marxism and the Soviet Union, or primitive Christianity and the Vatican
State, or "Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite" and Robespierre's
Committee for Public Safety. Mundane reality inevitably betrays the
pure idealism: even if it doesn't intend to, and especially if
villainous characters are involved. After all, who'd want to game in
a "perfect" world? This friction between the mythic and the
material generates many plots and motivations.
I believe that
many Lunars are good and pious and wonderful idealistic people. Others,
however, are despicable, amoral, selfish opportunists. And still others
are insane, or chaos-tainted, or illuminated beyond humanity. (I enjoy
writing and playing all sorts in freeform games).
Remember: the Lunar
Empire employs both Teelo Norri nuns and Danfive Xaron torturers; Fazzur
Wideread and Roan-Ur; honourable Yanafali and Char-Un cossack butchers;
the Granite Phalanx and the Vampire Legion; illuminated levitating moral
teachers and the devouring chaotic obscenity of the Crimson Bat.
I dislike suggestions
that everyone in the Empire is "good", or "evil".
However, in view of the means it employs, I don't think the Empire itself
could ever be considered wholly "good". There is plenty of
room for characters like the Coders, who oppose what they see as the
"dark side" of their society: campaigns could easily revolve
around Watergate- or X-Files-like investigations into corruption and
the secretive abuses of power; or White Moonie protesters and reformers
trying to bring the Empire back to the path of virtue; or Vietnam POW
/ "Clear and Present Danger"-style plots involving misuse
of the armed forces by corrupt nobles in the Heartlands.
Think of Dominic
Flandry, upholding a decadent Empire as the "least worst"
option. Or the officers of Babylon 5 looking on aghast as the government
they work for descends into Orwellian totalitarianism. The adventures
generated by these tensions are in my opinion more satisfactory than
the old simplicities of "good barbarians vs. bad Empire" or
"good Empire vs. bad barbarians". To make them work, you have
to have good Lunars and bad Lunars. Luckily, this isn't a problem
I believe the Empire
is fatally compromised (to my non-Illuminated understanding) by the
unwholesome and unspeakable things it permits to happen in its name.
Thank the Goddess there's more to the Lunar Way than that one manifestation.