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Grand Master of the Cenobites

Old Name: Josephus Valindus
Age: 50s?
Career: Black Army
Religion: Danfive Xaron
Culture: Streets of Glamour
Disposition: Grim, terrifying, remorseless
The Red Moon
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You were born on the streets of Glamour with the name Josephus Valindus: it is many years since you have heard this spoken. Your early life was undisciplined: shorn of moral direction, you became a petty thief. Your downfall came when you attempted to mug a wealthy Senator and his wife: the man put up a fight, and you were forced to kill both of them.

You were quickly apprehended by the Black Watch, and put on trial. The Judge was a friend of the deceased Senator. Though you pleaded your innocence, the verdict was easy for the jury to reach, and the Judge took great pleasure in sentencing you to death. Then the Cenobites, dark-robed priests of Danfive Xaron, God of Punishment, stepped forward and offered you the chance to repent. Anything seemed better than death by impalement: over the protests of the Judge, you were led away to the feared Xaronea Penitentiary.

In the Penitentiary, you learned to embrace the Three Noble Truths and the Sevenfold Path of Danfive Xaron. You sincerely repented your past misdeeds, and devoted yourself to perfecting the disciplines and corrections of the cult. After seven years, the Inquisitors offered you the chance to leave. You refused: taking the cultic name of Orsorkhon (after one of the Dark Demons met by Danfive on his journeys through Hell), you remained within the Xaronea as a Catechumen. Five years later, you took Cenobitic Orders and became a priest of the cult.

Your rise was inexorable. Now, you are the Grand Master of the Cenobites, the most feared member of the cult of Danfive Xaron. You command the Black Army (the secret police) and all the Penitentiaries, gulags, labour-camps and torturers of the Lunar Empire. You sit on the Supreme Presidium of the Lunar Empire as the Priest of Internal Security, the Emperor's Will.

To inflict pain, and gain knowledge from it, one must have experienced that pain oneself. Your face, horribly scarred with iron pins, bears testimony of the horrors you have witnessed, and now inflict upon those miserable scum who threaten the good order of the Lunar Empire.


The Cult of Danfive Xaron

You are a worshipper of Danfive Xaron, the Lunar god of Redemption through Suffering. Danfive Xaron was one of the Seven Mothers, and his cult runs Penitentiaries (prisons and labour-camps) offering criminals sanctuary and the hope of rehabilitation. The cult's strict and inflexible code of conduct also attracts many who seek greater meaning and direction from life, such as yourself.

The cult is also the Empire's secret internal police force, the Black Army, maintaining a network of informers among its former Penitents to watch out for potentially disruptive activities, and agents to nip them in the bud.

You are the unquestioned leader of the cult of Danfive Xaron, dwelling within the grim and terrifying Xaronea prison in Glamour.

The Emperor's Unspoken Word

You command the Black Army, the Imperial Secret Police. The Lunar Empire is a peaceful and prosperous place to live, where the benefits of civilisation are cherished and nurtured. Crime is contained and dissent confined to a few pacifists and religious extremists. Toleration of all traditions is the byword of an official policy that actively promotes diversity and innovation. The price of this freedom is eternal vigilance.

Aware of the inevitability of change and disruption, the Lunar Empire maintains highly efficient covert agencies to nip such threats in the bud. At its highest levels, the cult of Danfive Xaron operates a sub-cult called the Black Army. This is organised along military lines to provide an internal security force for the Empire. As the Red Army defends the Empire against attacks from without, so the Black Army defends it against threats from within.

Openly, it is represented by units such as your regiment, the Grim Soldiers, responsible for keeping order in the city of Glamour Covertly, it maintains a network of spies and informers, known as "The Unspoken Word" who watch for potentially disruptive activities. The agents are mostly Initiates, former Penitents who report back to the Catechumens and Overseers who are the officers of the Army. Elite units stand ready to take action to ensure that the everyday life of the Empire proceeds in an orderly and cyclical pattern.


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.

  • You sit on the Presidium as head of the Order of Danfive Xaron. Your feared forces of punishment, the Black Army, seek out sedition throughout the Empire. The other members of the Presidium include:
  • 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.
  • Bellex Maximus, the Imperial Warlord, 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.
  • 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.




  1. Remain a terrifying and enigmatic figure in the eyes of all, even your closest comrades.

  2. Teach Senator Geilbonus the true meaning of Fear and Remorse.

  3. Bring painful redemption to more sinners.


  1. Remorselessly punish the enemies of the Empire.

  2. Find Sheng Seleris and have him returned to the Pits of Perdition before his escape becomes known. Punish severely those implicated in his escape, or find scapegoats to blame.

  3. Show the superior efficiency of the Black Army as an investigative agency: complete investigations into Religious dissent, and also demonstrate that your forces are more able to police the Government than your rivals in the Emperor's Spoken Word.

  4. Bring the vigilante known as the Bat Man to justice, so that he can no longer terrorise the criminal underworld of Glamour.

  5. Fight in the Presidium for your share of the budget. You need 40 influence for the Black Navy, 20 to fund various Black Operations, plus whatever Colonel Conradin requires.


  1. Ensure that no crimes go unpunished, and that criminals come to repent their foul deeds.

  2. Demonstrate your victories over heresy by publicly burning copies of banned works such as the Seleric Verses, the White Moon Prophecies, and others.

  3. Order Colonel Conradin to identify and arrest the last of the Keepers of the White Moon: you know he or she must be a religious figure.


  • Sheng Seleris has escaped from the Pits of Perdition

  • Orosorkhon's original name was Josephus Valindus

  • As Josephus Valindus you murdered a wealthy Senator and his wife, for which you have repented and been punished.

  • The Black Army is involved in Black Operations.

  • Senator Geilbonus originally sentenced Orsorkhon to death, which he only escaped by becoming a Pentitent.

Special Items

  • Enchanted Shackles: These unbreakable manacles can be used to bind any Enemy of the State, preventing them from using any spell or ability cards. Only a member of the cult of Danfive Xaron can release them


Who You Know

Personal Acquaintances


Through your Career

Moonson Argenteus, the Red Emperor: Hail Moonson! Every torture you inflict, every subversive you cause to disappear is for his glory.

Bellex Maximus: the Imperial Warlord is a dangerous rival, and possibly ambitious for even higher power. He controls the armies of the Empire. The recent setbacks in Dragon Pass have shaken him, and he may be losing his grip. Theoretically, he commands the obviously military parts of the Black Army, such as the Grim Soldiers and the Punishment Battalions.

Marshal Volkhovos: the head of Military Intelligence is a dangerous rival, to be watched closely. His forces have often strayed from their proper territory of investigating the Armed Forces to trespass in your Religious sphere. He was born in Sartar - something you delight in teasing him about.

Jubba the Hood: the head of the Emperor's Spoken Word is an inept blunderer, whose methods cannot compare to the splendid efficiency of the Black Army. It is fortunate that your agents are able to succeed where his cannot in safeguarding the Government from sedition.

Geilbonus: the Speaker of the Imperial Senate is the High Priest of the Emperor's cult. Many years ago, he was the Judge who callously condemned you to death.

Jar-Eel the Razoress: the Superhero is one of the greatest assets of the Empire, one of its few truly loyal generals.

Didius Copernicus: the Dean of the Field School of Magic is dangerously ambitious, wielding power far too great for one so young.

The Red Dancer of Power: a demi-deity, the Chief Missionary of the Lunar Way is inscrutable. She controls the Seven Year Plan which keeps the economy healthy. However, worrying rumours link her to the East Isles Bubble scam.

Great Sister: the Emperor is far too tolerant of this powerful rival, the Daughter of the Red Goddess. She is certainly behind recent acts of sabotage and disloyalty.

Mikos Thiokonos: the Imperial Chamberlain certainly has something to hide. He controls all access to Moonson.

Orgrol the Fat: the King of the Char-Un Cossacks is a very corrupt allied ruler. His brutal troops can be very useful for putting down internal dissent.

Through your Religion

Colonel Miriros Conradin: your right-hand man is Colonel of the Grim Soldiers, a regiment of the Imperial Bodyguard which guards the Citadel of Halfway at the Dark Moon - they are also known as the Black Watch. He recently rounded up the heretical Keepers of the White Moon: interrogation in the Xaronea has revealed that only one of their leaders is still at large.

You have yet to tell Colonel Conradin of Sheng's escape.

Appius Luxius: the Provincial Overseer, is also a Danfive Penitent, and you are one of the few who knows that Moonson Argenteus is his son. He has held his office for far too long, and you suspect him of disloyalty to the Emperor. His arrogant refusal to help you in some investigations is proof of this.

The Bat Man: the criminals of Glamour have come to fear this masked avenger of the night even more than the punishments known in the Penitentiary! He stalks the crime-ridden streets by moonlight in his bat-like cape, hauling criminals off the street: rumour says they are taken to be Bat Fodder! Your cult is fundamentally opposed to the actions of the Bat Man: you have faith in the redemptive power of the Penitentiaries, and cannot countenance the murder of criminals (or the timidity it induces in your network of informers). Colonel Conradin has sworn to stop the Bat Man.


Other Knowledge

Sheng Seleris' Escape. Details of Sheng's escape are limited. It is known that an ex-Coder, Eslas the Tracker (NPC), turned traitor and was able to break the magical bonds that held him. She must have had help in doing this and therefore all ex-Coders are now suspect. Only one is currently known to be in Glamour, Count Julan who commands the Imperial Household Foot. He must be watched (especially since he is a Spoken Word operative)!

The complete Black Sea fleet has been mobilised and is now scouring the Underworld for Seleris. He will have to undertake a number of lengthy rituals in order to make his way back to the mundane plane and his Pentan homeland. If he gets there he will most likely lead another Pentan horde against the Empire!

In addition, you have had to blow the cover of one of your best operatives, the captain of the Kalikos-class Icebreaker Red Storm Season. You have ordered him to ignore his current mission and to head into the Underworld to join the search. This is a risky strategy but Sheng Seleris must found! The captain will ensure that news of this does not get out. His previous mission was the completion of the annual Icebreaker ritual.

Ideally, you wish to find Sheng Seleris quickly and have him back in his chains before you announce to anyone that he has escaped. In this way you can stage manage the situation, and endure only a short period of worry and embarassment before you can "announce" his swift recapture by your efficient forces. If you can blame the escape on someone else then the Black Army should even come out of this with an increased reputation!

But first he must be recaptured, and swiftly, or your efforts to stage manage the situation may come to nothing if the escape leaks out somehow.

Arms Sales to Sartar. Colonel Conradin is using arms sales to Sartar to help finance the Black Army's budget. He is expecting to receive 10 influence by the middle of Fireday for the latest shipment.

The White Moon is a teaching which has grown up from nowhere in recent years. It holds that it was never the intention of the Red Goddess to create an enduring Empire. The Empire was a means to an end, to confront those states which violently opposed the Lunar Way to allow the liberation of their peoples. Since the days of the First Wane, the Empire has become a self-serving structure, its expansion never matching the speed at which the Lunar Way first spread. The White Moon Cult holds that the Red Moon is not yet perfect. The Empire must wither away. Then, and only then, will the Lunar Way be able to spread throughout Glorantha and the Moon shine White in the Air. From a fringe, harmless teaching, the cult has spread. Its devotees refuse to pay taxes or serve in the militia. They have now taken to attacks on Imperial Monopolies, tax collectors and so forth

The White Moonie Resettlement Progamme was set up ostensibly to help White Moonies settle outside of the Heartlands in lands where they could practice their religious beliefs without causing internal disruption. In reality, most who join the programme are those who have been rounded up in demonstrations or who have been arrested after refusing to pay taxes and the like.

In theory the program is run by the Lunar bureaucracy, with the help of local sultanates. In actual fact, the Black Army is the main organisation behind the program - which is a state secret.

Originally, the supposed destination for the White Moonie settlers was the River of Cradles. In fact, they mostly never got there, instead being sold off as slaves to Praxians, Pentans, Tusk Riders and the Morokanth. The receipts helped to fund the Black Army's Black Operations.

More recently, and after some investigations into the programme (notably by the Coders before you had them disbanded), their destination has supposedly been the Redlands. Again, they have not got there, instead being sent to a secret research site in the Autumn mountains of Aggar which is overseen by Colonel Conradin.

Of course, this must be kept secret at all costs!

The Feared Xaronea. Your command includes all the prisons and torturers of the Empire, but the grim and lightless edifice within which you dwell is more feared than any other. The Xaronea Penitentiary stands in the heart of Glamour: many of those who enter its steel portals have never emerged.

The Grim Soldiers are the unit of the Imperial Bodyguard which protects the Citadel of Halfway during the Dying Moon (known as the "Black Watch"), an honour earned for services rendered to the Red Emperor at the Battle of Kitor. Membership is by invitation only, and is conferred only on Overseers who have displayed great heroism, unflinching courage and fanaticism in the service of the cult.

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 Black Sea Fleet. The cult of Danfive Xaron maintains a fleet of galleys on the River Styx manned by the most desperate and hopeless criminals, for whom there is no hope of rehabilitation. They defend the Empire from attacks by demons of the Underworld. The Black Fleet does not officially exist, and its existence is a state secret.

A year ago, the Kalikos class Icebreaker, Red Star, was secretly transferred to the Black Fleet upon Moonson's express order. Here it has been renamed the Nights of Horror and is currently serving as the pride of the Black Fleet (at present searching for Sheng Seleris in Hell).

The Moonboats are magical aerial craft, propelled by the moonlight. Within the Empire, they are used for rapid transport of troops and supplies. Their use beyond the Glowline is more limited, as the cyclical phases of the Moon and the untamed forces of Storm can leave them grounded or even damaged.

Crime and Punishment. The cult of Danfive Xaron is not formally a part of the judicial or penal apparatus of the Lunar state, and the administration of justice need in no way be affected if the cult chose not to concern itself with a particular case. Felons may be apprehended, tried and punished by many other organs of the Empire. Moreover, there are several other institutions which maintain prisons or similar facilities, including the Imperial Revenue Service, the Army, the Sultans, and sundry others.

Most punishments under the old lawcodes still current in the Empire are sudden and brutal: branding, blinding, mutilation and execution (in various ways) are decreed for what might seem comparatively minor offences, while imprisonment per se seldom features in the old laws, which are concerned with the punishment of offenders, and not their rehabilitation.

Danfive Xaron offers the hope of reformation to criminals, as an alternative to the swift and certain punishment that may already have been decreed by the judiciary. Only in the event of a Penitent wilfully and persistently failing to respond to instruction would the offender be released prior to his initiatory rebirth and compelled to suffer the punishment determined by law.

The Unspoken Word. The Lunar Empire is a peaceful and prosperous place to live, where the benefits of civilization are cherished and nurtured. Crime is contained and dissent confined to a few pacifists and religious extremists. Toleration of all traditions is the byword of an official policy that actively promotes diversity and innovation. The price of this freedom is eternal vigilance.

The Chronomancers, who monitor the cycles of the Moon and are privy to the secrets of Time itself, watch for the recurrence of calamities such as rebellion and disorder. Aware of the inevitability of change and disruption, the Lunar Empire maintains highly efficient covert agencies to nip such threats in the bud.

At its highest levels, the cult of Danfive Xaron operates a sub-cult called the Black Army. This is organised along military lines to provide an internal security force for the Empire. As the Red Army defends the Empire against attacks from without, so the Black Army defends it against threats from within.

Openly, it is represented by units such as the Grim Soldiers, responsible for keeping order in the city of Glamour Covertly, it maintains a network of spies and informers, known as "The Unspoken Word" who watch for potentially disruptive activities. The agents are mostly Initiates, former Penitents who report back to the Catechumens and Overseers who are the officers of the Army. Elite units stand ready to take action to ensure that the everyday life of the Empire proceeds in an orderly and cyclical pattern.

The Crimson Bat is a monstrous Chaotic demon, the Empire's ultimate deterrent. Once unleashed, it devours all who oppose it, a terrifying weapon of atrocity which has greatly aided the peace-making efforts of the Red Army. The Chief Feeder of the Crimson Bat controls this demon, taking orders from the Director of the Field School of the Lunar College of Magic.

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, General Fatalius Victor took over the role of the Steel Proxy and donned his Steel mask.


From the Black Army Files

Alehandro, Count of Spol and Captain of the Queen's Regiment: your agent in Pavis during the Lunar occupation, Gimgim the Grim, managed to cover up an illegal hazia smuggling operation being run by Alehandro (apparently he was short of money). However, he kept the evidence which has since been used to blackmail him into helping the Black Army.

The last time it was used was during the investigations in Pavis around the White Moon resettlement programme by Governor Sor-Eel and the Coders. Alehandro was persuaded to help the Coders and then pass on the status of their investigation. It was only after he passed on news of them beginning to investigate the resettlements that Orsorkhon decided to have the Coders disbanded.

For his services the Black Army used its influence to have him promoted to Captain of the Queen's Regiment. He is a known friend of Count Julan and he could be blackmailed again. Orsorkhon has the evidence.

Barakos, the last Grand Master of the Cenobites: he died in mysterious circumstances only five years ago allowing you to take his place. This may be linked to a number of mysterious deaths of members of the Presidium over the last ten years.

Didius Copernicus, Dean of the Field School of Magic: your agents inform you that he is active amongst radicals in Saird who are seeking independence from the three Provinces that this region is administered by.

Gul-Taran, Sultan of First Blessed: a weak-willed sultan who is embroiled in a Dart War with the Satrap of Kostaddi. He has been heard to criticise the Black Army's actions against White Moonie agitators, and has even expressed sympathy for the Moonies!

Jaxarte Whyded, nephew of Sor-Eel: this pesky young fellow was the one whose work as Praxian Commissioner of Census almost almost blew the White Moonie Resettlement Programme. However, he has his uses - your agent Gimgim managed to steal his journal which has the incriminating evidence in it. The Jaxarte Papers are now safely under lock and key.

Murad Iznik, the Red General: in the past he commanded the Red Navy and therefore knows naval operations well, and expecially the Icebreaker mission. He must be watched in case he suspect something is wrong!

General Roan-ur, Commander in Aggar: Colonel Conradin regards this man as a useful tool and ally. Rumours of his extreme (and effective) methods involving the use of Chaos tend to support this, as long as the Black Army's reputation is not sullied.

Sor-Eel the Short, Ex-Governor of Prax: you had to have him removed from his post (using the Cradle incident and rumours of corruption as excuses) when his investigations into the White Moonie Resettlement Programme became too inconvenient. Watch him!

Thalia Springtime, Colonel of the Guides: she is the right-hand woman of Fyodr Volkovos and was once his Chief Assassin. She is dangerous and needs to be watched. Compromising information needs to be gathered on her such that she can be blackmailed.


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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 authors for Orsorkhon were Chris Gidlow, Nick Brooke and David Hall.

Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Nick Brooke , 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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