Life of Moonson Cultures
by Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow and David Hall,
with Kevin Jacklin, Rick Meints and MOB
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The Dara Happan Tripolis
You are descended from the divine rulers of the antediluvian Dara Happan Tripolis. This state was founded by the Sun-God, Imperial Yelm, and has a continuous history stretching back over a hundred thousand years. The ancient ways of nobility and rulership are innate in you, and you won't let anybody forget it - especially not the parvenu commoners who now think to take a share in the government of the Empire!
Naturally, these new-fangled Lunars (whose religion is scarcely four hundred years old) depend on the accumulated wisdom and institutions of old Dara Happa. By displaying your adherence to the ancestral traditions, you prove yourself worthy to participate in the politics of Empire. All civilised values ultimately stem from old ways of the Sun-God.
Moonson himself is the Dara Happan Emperor, having passed the Ten Tests which justify him in the eyes of Yelm.
The City States of Pelanda
You were born in one of the Pelandan city-states of the Oronin Valley. This green and fertile land was once the birth-place of agriculture and civilisation, and has been cultivated and civilised since before Time began. Pelandan culture and religion are the envy of the world, which has had unfortunate results for your people in the past. Your disunited city-states have been ruled by Dara Happa, Spol, and Carmania, before the liberation of the Lunar Way.
The Pelandans enjoy a cultured, gentle and wise reputation, and are admired for their advances in every branch of learning: in warfare, architecture and poetry alike. Many of the loftiest ideals now embraced by the Lunar Empire represent the rebirth in modern times of the ancient virtues of your homeland.
Pelanda is divided by the Oronin River between the Lunar Heartland satrapies of Oronin and Doblian, and the Carmanian counties of Jhor and Spol.
The Great Houses of Carmania
You are descended from one of the ancient noble houses of Carmania, rulers of the Empire that was overthrown at the rise of the Red Moon. The Carmanians have proud and austere traditions, holding themselves aloof from those of lesser birth and following the rituals of noble life from their ancestral strongholds in the West Reaches.
Every Carmanian is born into a Great House, a secretive and insular bloodline preserving antiquated traditions of rule. Though they may appear paranoid to outsiders, you know that the rivalries between the houses can be intense and deadly, erupting at times into ruthless campaigns of assassination and terrorism aimed at the utter destruction of opposing families.
The Imperial Governor of the Western Reaches is Palamtales, who strives to mediate between the Great Houses from his court at Kitor.
You are from the most holy of satrapies, the birthplace of the Red Goddess herself. The people of the satrapy were the first to convert to Lunar beliefs and are blessed as a result.
First Blessed Sultanate is the spiritual heartland of the Lunar Empire. Here, in the city of Blessed Torang, the Red Goddess was born on the surface world. The back room where her Seven Mothers performed the ritual is a revered site of pilgrimage second only to the Crater.
The lands of the satrap extend from the foothills of the Blue Moon plateau in the north to the Hungry Plateau in the south. The western border is the Oslir, while the satrap of Oraya is the eastern border. Most of the Sultanate is the Pelorian land of Rinliddi, extended by the Goddess to include the Dara Happan cities of Elz Ast and Yuthuppa, the largest urban centres. The economy is based on pig-farming, with copper mining at the base of the Hungry Plateau.
The ruling clan is the Taran-il, who are descended from a mortal man and an incarnation of the Red Goddess who was called Flower Poem. The ruling clan has been in place for about a century. The current Sultan is Gul-Taran.
You were born into a family of the purest Lunar blood, within the mystical Silver Shadow cast by the Red Moon herself. Silver Shadow Sultanate is at the centre of the Lunar Heartlands, and its ruling families are descended from the Imperial House, through consorts and concubines of bygone Masks of Moonson.
The land is the throbbing, pulsating heart of Imperial power, glory and decadence. From your earliest youth, you have been observing the potentates of the Court, avoiding - or profiting from - entanglement in their intrigues, equally at home in the grand avenues of Glamour and the luxurious villas beneath the Crater's lofty crags.
There is no Sultan of Silver Shadow: this sultanate is ruled by Moonson himself.
The Satrapy of Karasal takes its name from an ancient Kingdom conquered by the Red Goddess.
The majority of the population are Dara Happans in the Oslir Valley, centred on the new city of Red Fish. The main industries, however, including the forges of Katchari, are found in the Darsen hills. The people here are Pelorians. Their land was known in ancient times as the Land of the Goddess and they take pride in their loyalty to the Moon.
The ruling family, the Rastari-ining, are from Darsen and tend to favour their fellow countrymen. The capital city, Graclodont, is on the Poralistor river north of Darsen. The largest city, Joranit, lies between the two areas and thrives on trade. It is an important Red Naval base and an entrepot for the Thrice Blessed to trade their fish and furs.
You were born in the Oslir Valley, in the Heartland Satrapy of Kostaddi. For two centuries, this pleasant land has been ruled by a dynasty of Sable Riders from the Hungry Plateau: backed by the military might of their nomadic people who still live on their bleak plateau, they oppress the lowlands and extort riches to the Satrap's capital, the City of Two Towers.
The current Satrap of Kostaddi is Raffha Khan.
The Sylilan Confederation
The sultanate of Sylila is made up of a confederation of clans, ex-colonies such as Dara Ni, and large noble-owned plantations.
The Sylilan drawl is widely recognised throughout the Empire and to the south. Sylilans treat women with a flirtatious respect. Most noblemen sport moustaches or beards and the richer women wear long flowing clothes that use bright fabrics.
The main produce of the sultanate is grain. In addition, racehorses of the highest quality are raised here and the yearly quota of flowers sent from Rist is a joy to behold. Deep in the hills there is a cottage industry around illegal gin stills.
You come from the Satrapy of Oraya. This Satrapy was settled in 5/23 and ruled by Hon-eel and her loyal followers. However, the ruling clan was mostly killed off during the Nights of Horror and the Molari-sor clan now rules the satrapy, while the descendants of Hon-eel control her cult.
The satrapy is bordered on the east by the Redlands and has suffered many depredations over the years from raiding nomads. Most of its cities are heavily fortified as a result. There are Mostali in the nearby Palasper mountains leading to a strong iron trade and local smelting industry.
The Satrap of Oraya is ruled by Queen Penelori.
The Orayan Pioneers
Your ancestors were among the hardy pioneers who followed Hon-Eel the Artess, settling the virgin land of Oraya in the Fifth Wane. You are proud of their tradition of independence and self-reliance, aware that your frontier upbringing has lent you advantages unknown to others, more reliant on the niceties of urban civilisation.
Unlike the Redlanders, who reject the Red Emperor while worshipping the Red Goddess, you Orayans are dutiful subjects, paying taxes and enjoying all the benefits of Imperial rule. You have a particular devotion to Hon-Eel the Artess, the Third Inspiration of Moonson, who died defending Oraya against nomad attacks at the Nights of Horror, and to Yara Aranis, Eater of Horses.
The Satrap of Oraya is Queen Penelori, of the Molari-sor clan. She rules from her capital of Palbar, a frontier city founded amid ancient ruins by Hon-Eel herself.
The Kingdom of the Bilini
Your ancestors were chieftains and kings in the royal line of the Bilini, a particularly fierce barbarian tribe in the land of Talastar. Living beneath Thunder Mountain on the threshold of Dorastor, the Bilini have for centuries stood as a bulwark against the worst incursions of chaos. Ten years ago, the evil forces of Ralzakark the Broo-King of Dorastor were defeated for a time, in the conflict known as Hahlgrim's War. Hahlgrim was a heroic cousin of yours, who died by treachery during the campaign.
The King of the Bilini is your former comrade Oddi the Keen, who now brings peace and plenty to the land.
The Queendom of Holay
This ancient Queendom is ruled from the great city of Filichet, which is at the southern end of the first Daughter's Road. By ancient tradition the Queendom must be ruled by a woman.
The government of the Queendom has been dominated by the Lunar priestesshood for generations, but their ways have not yet been spread widely into the countryside.
In the north of the Queendom is the Saird region, which is settled by Dara Happans. The relationship between the Sairdites and the queen is often strained.
Currently you rule the Queendom of Holay.
The Kingdom of Aggar
Aggar was unified by the Lunar aid to one of its indigenous tribes in order to build the City of 10,000 Magicians which guards the rich crystal mines in the Eastern Autumn Mountains.
Previous to the Lunar invasion the region was ruled by a number of Orlanthi tribes who raided each other and rarely co-operated.
The kingdom is now governed by the descendants of the ruling family of the tribe which the Lunars helped.
You were born in one of the formerly barbaric kingdoms of south Peloria which embraced the Lunar Way. Your kingdom is ruled by a descendant of the great King Phargentes, one Pharandros by name. He has abused his powers and sought to cow and enslave the proud clans of his kingdom by treachery and all out civil war.
Each of the Provinces sends annual tribute to the Red Emperor through the Provincial Governor at Mirin's Cross, and provides manpower for the Provincial Army. They get little in return. No support against local tyrants, little help against foreign invaders, and no representation.
Lunar Tarsh is loyal to the Red Goddess, but there is little, if any, loyalty to the Red Emperor, his ineffective Governor, or their rapacious tax collectors!
Despite its small size, this barbarous mountain kingdom in Dragon Pass is the main military threat to the Empire.
It is a stronghold for the Storm Gods, who hate the Empire as a source of Chaos, and a beacon of Orlanthi nationalism inspiring rebels in the provinces.
The Empire has tried to crush it on many occasions but has always been driven back. This happened most recently when the Temple of the Reaching Moon by its capital, Boldhome, was mysteriously destroyed. The current King, Argrath Dragon Tooth, is the leader of the Southern rebellion. He is supported by the legendary Harrek the Berserk, western hero Gunda the Guilty and undead Praxian Jaldon Tooth-maker.
The Sable Riders of the Hungry Plateau
In the First Age, the braves of the Sable Tribe came from distant Prax to throw out the evil Horse Nomads who ruled Peloria. Your ancestors had the wisdom to settle atop the Hungry Plateau and preserve their ancient ways of survival amidst the hardships of this bleak land. Other tribes had less forethought: living in the lush lowlands, they became soft and succumbed to the vicissitudes of history. Only the Sable Riders have endured.
Following their conversion to the Lunar Way, the Sable Tribe has become a firm and loyal ally of the Empire, and its regiment of Antelope Lancers is ever foremost in the conquests of the Empire, serving with distinction in the Redlands, Prax and Arrolia.
You are the Khan of the Sable Tribe and Lord of the Two Towers, ruling as Satrap over lowland Kostaddi. You are First Consort of the Queen of the Sables: you command in all matters to do with war and scarcity, whereas the Queen rules over peace and plenty.
The Thrice Blessed
You are one of the Thrice Blessed, simple nomads who roam the land of Eol. Your folk are hunters, trappers, fishermen and occasionally herd goats. You shun cities and refuse to build in stone.
Eol is a Taiga rich in fur-yielding game. Although it is snow-bound from Storm Season to Sacred Time, it is nowhere near as inhospitable as it was before the Lunar Kallikos expeditions altered the climate. In those days, folk would cross the frozen Poralistor to escape the freezing storms. The Thunder Delta was named from the crashing icebergs which once choked it. The northern tundra has similarly been transformed into reedy wetlands.
The Thrice Blessed do not muster armies, but send the famous Thunder Delta Slingers south as part of your tribute.
The Char-Un are Pent Nomads. You ride and herd only horses, considering other animals to be abominations. Families live in domed felt tents, called Yurts.
Your land of Erigia is a wide steppe grassland, once a conifer forest which your ancestors destroyed with the massive Skyburn spell. The Char-Un were converted by the Red Goddess herself, but in spite of their loyal service, they were cheated out of their homeland by the Emperor and given Erigia in return. Subsequently, the Char-Un have been known to fight against the Empire, since you respect only the strong.
You were found on the steps of a Foundling Home in Good Shore with a note bearing your name and a large but anonymous benefaction hidden under the blankets. You received a nobleman's education and, perhaps more importantly, a solid grounding in Lunar virtues from the Teelo Norri sisters who reasoned that whoever your parents were, at least one of them was obviously of high rank and privilege, and they might wish to claim their son again one day. Your unusual upbringing has given you many aristocratic virtues, but little of the snobbery or arrogance that sometimes comes with rank. The friendliness you exhibit to decent people of all classes is genuine, though you treat those you consider base or dishonourable with polite, but icy disdain.
Nothing was heard from your benefactor again until you reached maturity, when a commission into the Lunar Army was sent to you. The last overt act of your benefactor was to send you an iron scimitar on the day of your induction as Sword of Yanafal Tarnils. That was over 20 years ago.
The Wastelands of Pent
You were born a horse nomad on the steppes of Pent. Your clan herded and ate horses and worshipped Yelm.
Life on the steppes is harsh and uncompromising, leading to a hardy and brutal race of people. Your early life was one of great misery and rare moments of happiness. This has given you a very different perspective on life.
The Pentan people often raid the Lunar farmers in the Redlands. They still await the return of their great hero Sheng Seleris, who once killed Moonson and ruled the Empire until defeated. His soul currently resides, in eternal torment, deep within the Lunar Pits of Perdition.
The Red Moon
You were born in Hero City on the Moon. Here there is no scarcity or want, all are nourished by the abundant radiance of the Red Goddess. The Red Moon is inhabited by all manner of creatures, and by the saints and heroes of the Lunar Way. There are glowing principalities, seas of mist and forests of unimaginable wonder. Hero City is the centre of the Network of Canals which channel energy around the body of the Red Goddess. It is not far from the Ruby City, where the Goddess has her main palace and the Egi meet to ponder on weighty matters.
The City of Zoria
Zoria, the City of Free Love, is in the snowy land of Fronela "because it's the best place to keep warm," according to its founder, an incarnation of Uleria, Goddess of Love. In a bleak valley north of the Arrolian Colonies she built a town and a temple. The city and the people nearby still follow her precepts of Free Love.
The men of Zoria are well-muscled, handsome and sensitive. The women are radiantly lovely, friendly and inquisitive. Distinctive local customs include the Kiss of Greeting, and the Sauna: you understand the Empire is trying to invent this, but has stalled at the bath-house stage: perhaps they don't have enough birch twigs? All Zorians are keen on health and efficiency; jealousy and the heartbreak of unhappy relationships are unknown.
The ruler of Zoria is your mother, the Queen of the Kiss.
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