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Haroun al-Rastari

Sultan of Karasal

Age: 45
Career: Sultan
Religion: Red Emperor
Culture: Darsenite
Disposition: Suave and scheming

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You were born in the opulent palace in Graclodont, eldest son of Sultan Mehmet al-Rastari. You were groomed to rule from childhood. The best tutors in the Empire were hired to teach you politics, economics, social skills and every other necessary accomplishment. Your father gave them strict orders to admonish and even beat you if you strayed from your studies. And the Goddess be thanked that he did! Otherwise you might have ended up a pampered fop like most of your fellow Sultans or (careful, these thoughts must be guarded), like Emperor Argenteus himself.

You progressed in the Cult of Moonson Imperator. You were appointed to the post of Red Tribune and Aide to the Commander of the Karasal Sultanate Guard regiment. You became noted for your drive against waste and corruption. If there was blame to be apportioned, you would always pick on the most vulnerable officer. The men were spared, and grew to love you, while the other officers tightened their act.

Though still very young, you became a Moonlord in the entourage of the Emperor Ignifer. You were away supervising the Minority Rights Commission in Glamour when you heard that he had been assassinated while convalescing on his country estates.. Shortly after, the Red Smoke was seen from the Citadel of Halfway. Bellex Maximus, flanked by Great Sister and the Imperial Chamberlain, appeared to announce that the Emperor had been reborn. His new mask-name would be Argenteus.

Troops of the Black and Blue Armies were rounding up loyalists to the old Mask so you resigned your Commission and returned to Karasal. Your father was ailing, and you acted as his Grand Vizier. Here you learnt to manipulate the reins of power. It is incredible what people will do once convinced that you are acting in their own interests. You took to the streets, organising festivals, meeting the public and helping them to feel involved in the political process.

You inherited the Sultanate fifteen years ago. You consolidated your position by signing a treaty with the King of the Char-Un, Orgrol the Fat. He agreed to stop raiding Karasal in return for trade concessions. You turned this deal to your advantage by supplying illegal consignments of home produced and addictive gin. You sponsored prospectors in the Gan Mountains of Eol, a rich source of iron ore. Over the last two years the mines established there have made it much easier for you to fulfil your quota of swords. Expedients like this have been bringing in a handsome profit year on year.
You felt sufficiently secure to return to the City of Dreams. Studying the Imperial court made it clear to you that the root of the corruption and decay was the Emperor himself. Your high position in the Imperial Cult has revealed to you that that Argenteus is just a false Emperor, known as a Proxy. Before he was appointed Emperor by the Presidium, he was just Appianus Maniricus, a well-connected and charismatic tribune.

Last year, while hunting in the Darsen Hills, you heard the call of the Red Goddess, saying that the Mandate of the Moon had descended on you. You must become the true Red Emperor. The path to power will be difficult, but you are confident that you will prove worthy to the task. You are suave, elegant and sophisticated. You must charm them and beguile them, but let them know you have power, real power, and will soon have more. You are the Emperor.



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.

Moonson Imperator

You are a devotee of the Red Emperor. Your right to rule comes from worshipping the founders of your family clan as a subcult of Moonson Imperator.

The cult worships the Red Emperor as the perfect embodiment of the Lunar Citizen. It does so by enforcing his Justice, supervising the actions of all other governing institutions in the Empire, and providing structures for all citizens to aspire to and achieve the highest rank. As such, it determines the basic social structure of the Empire, overlying the Empire's disparate cultures.

The Red Emperor leads his cult personally.

Sultan of Karasal

Yours is one of the nine full sultanates of the Lunar Empire. Each is governed by a powerful ruling family responsible for extracting the emperor's taxes, protecting the people, assuring respect for the Red Goddess, and enforcing the emperor's personal commands. Your family holds large estates across the sultanate and commands a large private army.

However, you must always be on your guard since your family only holds this sultanate for as long as you have the power. You have many noble family rivals who wish to remove you in a Dart War and take your place.

As a sultan of the Empire you are eligible to sit on the Court of the Silver Gate.




  1. You have the Mandate of the Moon, you can therefore become Red Emperor!

  2. You are a career politician. Kiss babies, comfort disaster victims, make speeches and keep up your image. There is a cult of personality in Karasal. You realise that a great deal of Argenteus' success is due to his popularity with the masses.

  3. Be proclaimed Imperial Vizier (de facto Regent) of the Empire. Make some behind the scenes deals with the other sultans to secure their support - power must somehow be wrestled from the Presidium. Remember, Moonson is an absolute monarch and you will have no need to keep your promises once you take power.

  4. Find the Red Water diamond that was worn by the Sultans of Karasal on their turbans - it was lost in the Nights of Horror but there are now rumours that it has resurfaced. It is rightfully yours!


  1. Keep the Herald of Kalikos, the last Icebreaker, in dry dock. It is a gravy-train for your Sultanate and not remotely sea-worthy. You can claim 10 influence from the annual budget for work on the ship. Put in your claim to Murad Iznik before the Presidium decides on the Budget.

  2. Improve the strength of your Sultanate. Especially, gain control of the city of Elz Ast at the mouth of the Oslir river, which used to be the capital of the old Kingdom of Karasal, but was allocated to First Blessed. It is the home of the barges of the Blue Navy, control of which would make your task easier. Discredit Gul-Taran, the worthless Satrap of First Blessed.

  3. Protect the Karasal prospectors in the Gan Hills of Eol. If possible add this area to your satrapy.

  4. Continue the production of illicit Gin in Graclodont. Keep open the market with Orgrol the Fat and the Char-Un.


  1. Your accession as Moonson will have to confirmed by the religious authorities of the Empire. Find some to support you.

  2. You know that Argenteus was identified as Emperor by the support of Bellex Maximus, Great Sister and Mikos Thiokonos. Your path to the Pearl Throne will be easier if you can get all three of them to declare that he was just a proxy, standing in for the real Emperor - you!

  3. Gain military credibility by becoming a member of the Moonsword sub-cult.

Who You Know

Personal Acquaintances

Moonson Argenteus, the Red Emperor: This man is a worthless impostor.

Great Sister, Daughter of the Red Goddess: This Powerful demigod lives in a palace in your capital city, Graclodont. She is obsessed with various social welfare programmes for the poor of the Empire. She is consequently revered by the masses and you have considered it wise to help her out and to be seen to be doing so. It also keeps her from interfering too much in the political affairs of the Sultanate, which is useful.

Miriros Conradin, Colonel of the Grim Soldiers: you helped this senior Danfive Xaron penitent in his study of the cultic lore of Orogeria, the Divine Moon Huntress by opening up the temple and record to him. He seemed very grateful. More recently he bought a large number of swords and shields from your factories in Katchari. More than his cult or regiment would ever need.

Orgrol the Fat, King of the Char-Un Cossacks: This brutal imperial ally leads his nomads to the North of your Sultanate.

Through your Culture

Acutus, Prefect of the Mothers Guard: he is an ambitious Dara Happan Shargashi from Karasal. You wonder how ambitious?

Geilbonus the Sycophant: The Speaker of the Imperial Senate. A revered wise man, known for his legal judgements.


Other Knowledge

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.

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.

There is a rumour that the Icebreaker Red Storm Season has been lost. You could use the information to further your objective of becoming Emperor. Ensure that its loss does not become public knowledge until you have been able to pin the blame on an enemy. The Icebreaker was berthed in your port of Joranit, where its obsolete predecessor, the Herald of Kalikos, is supposed to be kept as a back-up. In fact it is used as a floating palace for orgies, sorry "diplomatic receptions". The Imperial Government has continued paying subsidies for it. The rowers are hard at work on the massive bellows in
Katchari and on your personal estates. Just one example of the corruption you despair of, albeit one which is to your advantage.

The Moonsword Cult is a special sub-cult of Yanafal Tarnils for military heroes of the Empire. Candidates must be recommended by Jar-eel. Those who are accepted are given their steel Moonsword by Moonson himself.

The Empty Conquest of the Thrice Blessed. The Twice Blessed, as they used to be known, were once ruled by the Kingdom of Karasal. They pledged friendship to the Red Goddess when she liberated them. Many studied in the Empire's Magical Schools, sharing their knowledge of the standing stones which dot Peloria. In the Second Wane, the shameful "Salt-diamond incident" led to the expulsion of the Twice Blessed from south of the Poralistor river. 26 years later, further trouble led to the Empire sending in General Parg Ilisi who raped the land and its inhabitants for ten years. When the Emperor found out, he conceded the Treaty of Eol, by which reparations were made and the folk granted full Imperial protection. In return the Twice Blessed embraced the Lunar Way and changed their name to Thrice Blessed.

Gin is a spirit distilled from malt and maize and flavoured with the Juniper berry. The word Gin comes from the Pelorian word meaning "Fire Spirit". Its sale and manufacture are one of the Seven Imperial Monopolies, controlled by the Red Dancer. However, you run an illegal distillery in your capital city, Graclodont, and you draw a good corrupt profit from it.

You have some consignments of gin with you (labelled in order to avoid suspicion) which you wish to sell to raise funds. No doubt Orgrol will want some.

The Mandate of the Moon
Each Red Emperor is an adult. Until they reach maturity, they live normal lives, often not knowing their destiny. When they are called on to take up the post of Red Emperor, they are summoned before the Goddess and the Egi, her council formed of the Spirits of the previous Emperors. Here they receive the Mandate of the Moon, along with the accumulated wisdom of the previous Moonsons. Thus, although they wear different "Masks", appearances from the lives they lived prior to receiving the Mandate, they are able to rule with all the knowledge of their past lives. The current "Emperor", Argenteus, is really just a proxy, a stand-in who rules the Empire while the real Emperor is away. Unfortunately, power has gone to his head, and he will not relinquish the Empire, though you are sure your mother must have ordered him to give it up to you.


  • Haroun al-Rastari is actively trying to become Red Emperor.

  • Miners from Karasal are illegally mining in the Gan Mountains.

  • There is an illegal treaty between the Char-Un and Karasal, involving trade concessions in return for immunity from attack.

  • Karasal is producing gin illegally and exporting it to the Char-Un.

  • The Herald of Kalikos Icebreaker is not remotely sea-worthy.

  • Haroun al-Rastari has been taking Imperial subsidies and slaves intended for the Herald of Kalikos and using them for his own purposes.

  • Colonel Conradin recently bought a large number of swords and shields from the Katchari weapons factories.

  • Argenteus came to power because he was supported by Bellex Maximus, Mikos Thiokonos and Great Sister.


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. They 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.

  • Bellex Maximus sits on the Presidium as the Imperial Warlord, the Supreme Commander of all Lunar Military forces, and Leader of the Cult of Yanafal Tarnils.
  • The Red Dancer of Power is the demi-deity who heads the Cult of Etyries and originates the economic and missionary policies of the Empire. She is Directress of the Half-Wane Economic Plan and offers the theoretical interpretation of Lunar doctrine.
  • Marshall Fyodr Volkovos is Commander of the Blue Army and Head of Military Intelligence. His command includes Guides, Assassins, and the Blue Moon School (which seeks out sedition within the ranks of the Red Army), as well as the Blue Navy, the riverine surface fleets of the Empire.
  • Grand Master Orsorkhon is the head of the Order of Danfive Xaron. His feared forces of punishment, the Black Army, seek out sedition throughout the Empire.
  • Moonson himself, who chairs the meetings of the Presidium when his duties permit. In his absence, his place is left vacant and Bellex Maximus presides.
  • Great Sister has taken upon herself the moral guidance of the Empire, and takes a keen interest in the workings of the granaries and the distribution of surpluses to the poor. No-one considers stopping her interference, as Great Sister commands 10,000 troops in her own army. Her views are generally inscrutable, but tend to the safeguarding of the Empire, especially its poor and downtrodden, against the factional interests of the powerful.
  • Until his demise seven years ago, Tatius the Bright sat on the Presidium as Dean of the Lunar College of Magic and Head of the Strategic Forces, commanding the Chief Feeder of the Bat and the Crater Makers. His place is currently vacant.

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.

  • Moonson, Satrap of Silver Shadow
  • Gul-Taran, Satrap of First Blessed
  • Var-Eel, Satrap of Oronin
  • Haroun al-Rastari, Satrap of Karasal
  • Makkrit-Oor, Satrap of Darjiin
  • Prince Pardidas, Satrap of Sylila
  • Raffha Khan, Satrap of Kostaddi
  • Queen Penelori, Satrap of Oraya

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.


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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 Haroun al-Rastari 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.

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