Reaching Moon Megacorp's Life of Moonson
Protectress of the Lunar People
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You are the daughter of the Red Goddess. This gives you great power in the Empire, as you report to your mother alone. Though you appear to be a young woman, you were actually born 136 years ago. You have thus seen several incarnations or "Masks" of your brother, Moonson. The current Mask, Argenteus, is the most ineffectual in your memory. In the face of his inaction, you have taken responsibility for the moral welfare of your people. You are especially concerned that the state does not grind down the poor and dispossessed.
You were the daughter of a poor family of street scavengers. You grew up fast on the streets of Graclodont, seeing the misery of the Empire's poor at first hand. You remember your surprise and fear when you saw the Chief Examiner of the Moon, borne on his palanquin, surrounded by all the priests and dignitaries of the Empire, so it seemed. You tried to hide, but the soldiers sought you out, then fell on their knees before you. Then the spirit of the Red Goddess descended on you in the form of a great red bat. The Crimson Halo blazed out around your head and you were filled with the Love of the Red Moon. The Examiner himself became your footstool for you to mount the palanquin and you were carried in majestic procession back to the City of Dreams.
Here you were taught the social and religious skills necessary for your new position. You attended your new-found brother and became adept in the political arts. But you never forgot those years on the streets of Graclodont. You resolved to complete your Mother's work of freeing her people. For how can one who has no money, no food, no home, be said to be free? You returned to Graclodont, buying up the worst slum areas to become you palace complex. You provided employment and homes for those who would serve you, then sent out missionaries to work in the deprived areas of the Empire.
You see the military/industrial complex as a self-serving and parasitic structure which oppresses the poor to maintain its power. You oppose the crude expansionist projects of the Bellex Maximus. It is quite clear to you that the Lunar Way is expanding fastest in the areas where the Lunar Military does least, the Red Lands and Arrolia. Conversely, Dragon Pass, were most military might is concentrated, has seen the biggest set-backs to the Lunar Way.
You hate the Military-Industrial complex, but this does not mean you are a pacifist. Sometimes, as the Goddess herself showed, one must fight to spread and preserve the Lunar Way. Besides this, you soon discovered that the Warlord and his cronies would not take seriously any request which was not backed by force, Accordingly, you have built up a large and superbly trained private army, which matches the Imperial Guard in size.
A useful source of cash for your social projects has been the tribute offered over the last 30 years by the Arrolians. They revere you, even though they refuse to acknowledge the power of the Empire. Needless to say, none of this tribute has ever been reported to the Presidium. So much easier than haggling against those militarists.
You have begun to see yourself as in danger. Fellow members of the Presidium have been dying off mysteriously over the last few years. You cannot afford to let your programme fail at this time. You have used magics to give birth to a parthenogenetic child, a daughter who has no father and is in every-way identical to yourself. She was born early this year and is kept in your apartments in the city of dreams. You hope that if you die, the soul of Great Sister will migrate to this new body.
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.
The Lunar Way
You are a devotee of the Red Goddess, the spiritual head of the Lunar religion.
She exemplifies all which the Lunar Way teaches. She is the goddess of freedom and tolerance. She teaches how to perceive, how to make judgements, and how to maintain balance. She urges individual experimentation to discover meaning in the world, and also supports public formalisation of those new discoveries as hero cults so that others can share the knowledge.
Her son, the immortal Red Emperor, rules her secular domain, while Great Sister provides balance to his rule.
The Emperor's Great Sister
When the Red Goddess ascended into the Air to become the Red Moon, she left behind her earthly humanity. Some of this was used to create her son, the Red Emperor, and the rest, her human femininity, became the Emperor's Great Sister.
The task of Great Sister is to balance the Emperor, to be strong when he is weak, to be compassionate when he is unconcerned, to be gentle when he is harsh. Like the Emperor, time cannot harm Great Sister, though she may be killed. On her death, her essence seeks a new body in which to incarnate, usually one of the Emperor's family. There is a search through the Empire to find the new Great Sister, who is identified by physical features and through divination.
Great Sister last died in the Fifth Wane, in circumstances which are alleged to have involved a stallion.
Who You Know
Moonson Argenteus, the Red Emperor: Your brother. Fun-loving, dissolute, and recently rather tyrannical.
Didius Copernicus, Dean of the Field School of Magic: This showy wizard, wrongly, thinks he knows more about your Mother's purposes than you do.
Jar-Eel the Razoress, the Superhero: An incarnation of your Mother. She would be a useful ally.
Haroun al-Rastari, the Sultan of Karasal: His father was one of your many lovers. He has given some help to your social programmes, whether from genuine commitment or from political expediency it is difficult to tell.
Mikos Thiokonos, the Imperial Chamberlain: Your brother's main accomplice in his dissolution.
General Roan-ur, Commander in Aggar: Your greatest mistake and a great scandal if it were ever exposed. For this poor lost boy is the unnatural product of your incestuous liaison with Moonson. It was at the time of the Mask Militaris and the thought of it still fills you with horror and disgust. Nothing good can come of it, but you still feel for the boy, you see his pain, and you wonder if a little love might heal his hurt. He does not know you are his mother since he was put in an orphanage as a baby. Should you tell him and risk a scandal?
Through your Career
Varnaro of Riverjoin [NPC]: One of your supporters, the Ambassador of the Moon worshippers of Arrolia. Her tribute is vital to fund your work.
Orgrol the Fat, King of the Char-Un: A brutal ally, whose warriors are often used to oppress the masses.
The Red Dancer of Power, Chief Missionary of the Lunar Way: The director of the Imperial Economy. She organises scarcity and rationing, and produces evil gin.
Bellex Maximus, The Imperial Warlord: Head of the Military Industrial Complex.
Marshal Volkhovos of Military Intelligence: The chief Assassin.
Grand Master Orsorkhon, Chief Cenobite of Danfive Xaron: A cruel oppressor of the people.
Geilbonus the Sycophant: The Speaker of the Imperial Senate. A wise old judge, barred from influence by the Military.
Fod-Ariam, the Red Sage: a fine geographer and an active publisher. You finance his University Chair as Red Sage from the funds voted to you in each year's Budget.
The Seven Year Plan is the mechanism by which the major food and raw material requirements of the Empire are centrally planned and provided for. At the beginning of each seven year period every sultanate and province agrees to quotas of important foodstuffs and other raw materials and goods which they must achieve over a seven year period A seven year plan has just ended and each of the sultanates and provinces will be audited this a sacred time on their results. Success is usually the route to promotion and Imperial favour, while failure is a sure road to political humiliation.
Bellex Maximus is the name given to the Imperial Warlord, commander of all of the Empire's military forces. This rank was once preserved for the Red Emperor himself.
The first Bellex Maximus was General Parg Ilisi in 2/30. However, his brutal and demented actions against Twice Blessed cause him to be removed from the post when the Emperor learned of his actions. The position did not exist again until the time of the mask Reclusus, when it was held by the Steel Proxy, whose face was hidden by a steel mask.
With the ascension of the mask Ignifer the Steel Proxy retired for a time, only returning after Ignifer was wounded during the siege of Boldhome. The Steel Proxy has continued to hold the position of Bellex Maximus up to the present day.
This is the "official" story. Unofficially, insiders in the government know that the original Steel Proxy was Ignifer himself, before he became Emperor. When he became Emperor he took personal command of the Empire's military and no longer needed a proxy. Thus the Steel Proxy "retired".
However, after Ignifer was wounded at Boldhome a strong military leader was required while he recovered. Therefore, Fatalius Victor took over the role of the Steel Proxy and pretended to be the same man as before.
Beatpot's Moonrock Café is a chain of fashionable eating houses based upon the culinary genius of Beatpot Aelwrin, the notorious rebel slave turned loyal soldier of the Empire. These establishments are noted for their garish decor (usually celebrating Jar-eel the Razoress) and ostentatious exteriors (complete with a glowing and revolving Red Moon). They have spread from the original restaurant in Dragon Pass (now closed) into the Empire. The flagship restaurant is in Glamour, and often boasts the presence of Beatpot Aelwrin himself in its kitchens.
Unfortunately, the restaurants have recently come under attack from some elements of the religious establishment who regard the restaurant's concept and execution as blasphemous and disrespectful to Rufelza. In addition, close supporters of Great Sister have also questioned the culinary and nourishment value of many of the dishes served.
The Icebreakers are enchanted vessels which carry the Kalikos Icebreaker missions across the White Sea to face the ice demons of Valind's Glacier and keep the Lunar Heartlands fertile and free of bad weather.
The Silver Quill is a prestigious literary award, worth 10 influence to the winner. No categories are prescribed: past prizes have gone to poetry, fiction, historical and scientific works. It is administered by Fod-Ariam, the Red Sage of Glamour. You have entered your pamphlet The Story of Our Red Goddess, called Rufelza into the competition.
Gin is a spirit distilled from malt and maize and flavoured with the Juniper berry, the word Gin means "Fire Spirit". Its sale and manufacture are one of the Imperial Monopolies, controlled by the Red Dancer. Known as "Seven Mothers' Ruin", it is symptomatic of the pernicious influence of the military-industrial complex. Originally a soldier's drink, this cheap and easily produced drug is now sold on the streets to those who can least afford it. It destroys families, robs the poor of the will to work and prevents them for saving the money to escape from poverty. You well remember the blows you and your earthly mother were struck by the gin-sodden wreck who was your earthly father. You run gin-addiction centres in the heartland, and have led numerous temperance crusades, but you now realise there is only one cure for this disease: prohibition.
Senate Confirmation Hearings: These are investigations into the moral character and practical qualifications of someone who has recently been appointed to a new office. Senate Confirmation Hearings must be held in public.
There will be four participants: the Candidate and three Panelists. These are:
The Hearing must be role-played out in three rounds of cross-examination, during which the Panel is trying to discover the motivations and background of the Candidate and assess his or her suitability. In each round, one of the three Panelists draws a card, in the order listed above (Investigator, Advocate, Censor). The Cross-Examination cards allow you to investigate the Candidate's objectives and determine if he or she is truly suited to hold high office.
At the end of the day, the Panel will vote on whether the candidate is acceptable for their role by a simple majority.
Great Sister's Charity: any Player who has no influence at all can come to you and ask for Charity. You must give them two influence, or issue an IOU worded as follows:
You should keep an account of the IOUs you have issued, and claim for them in the Imperial Budget. Do give the names of these poor charity recipients to the Presidium, to prove your sincerity. Once the Budget is decided, you will have to pay off your IOUs. Anyone who presents more than one has either claimed fraudulently or taken them off poor players with oppressive challenges. Although you still have to pay them, you can also ask an agency to investigate them. Failure to honour your IOUs will be a serious blow to your position.
Governing Bodies of the Lunar Empire
The Imperial Presidium
In recent years, an executive body, known as the Imperial Presidium, has taken over the reins of power. All Imperial Agencies ultimately report to a member of the Presidium. You are the wielders of real power, usually through control of military forces in the Empire. Presidium means garrison in New Pelorian. The function of the Imperial Presidium is to safeguard the Empire until Moonson again decides to take an interventionist role in government.
The Imperial Senate
The Senators are the guardians of the social structure of the Empire. They meet collectively in Glamour to advise Moonson and assist him in implementing his Mother's Will. They also co-ordinate the actions of other Lunar agencies when necessary. Senators sit as Judges in cities throughout the Empire, act as Ambassadors, and head Commissions of Inquiry into law reform and abuses of power. Only Senators are entitled to wear the Toga.
All Senators must possess extensive landed property. Those with so great a stake in the Empire are most likely to want to safeguard it, and less likely to be swayed by factional interests, greed or bribery. Financial peculation is grounds for expulsion from the Senate.
The Red Emperor is an absolute ruler, and has no legal obligation to consult the Senate or to listen to its advice. In practice, the Senate always supports Moonson's policies, and is used for the public promulgation of laws and edicts. Senators do criticise other imperial agencies which have come under the scrutiny of the cult, and in this capacity they act as a useful counterbalance to bodies such as the Imperial Presidium or the Court of the Silver Gate. When Moonson decides between conflicting advice, it is the Senate which puts the case for stability, tradition and social cohesion. The Senate also acts a debating chamber, legislature and appeal court.
The Court of the Silver Gate
Although Provincial Kings and the officials of Silver Shadow report to Moonson directly, most of the Heartland is under the sway of the Sultans. They head the Red Emperor's Cult in their own domains. Thus, within their own lands, their decisions command the same authority as those of Moonson.
At present, the Emperor only intervenes in the internal affairs of the Sultanates to enforce political decrees and raise troops. The Sultans enjoy access to the Emperor and expect to be consulted by him in major matters of economic and military policy. The Sultans infrequently meet collectively, as the Court of the Silver Gate.
The Satrap of Doblian will have a place on the council, when one is appointed. Either collectively or individually, the decisions of the Sultans are subject to appeal to the Imperial Senate.
Reaching Moon Megacorp's Life of Moonson was written by Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow,David Hall and Kevin Jacklin, with Rick Meints and MOB. The lead author for Great Sister was Chris Gidlow.
Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Chris Gidlow, 2001; any material derived from Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha is also copyright by Greg Stafford. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.