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Gloranthan Folk Tales

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Moonie Madness

Carmanian Sources

Malkioni Scriptures

by Loren Miller and Nick Brooke


When the deceitful, atheistic Godlearners, who in their hubris desired to conquer even the gods, began their conquest of the west, Sironder (a.k.a. General Syranthir Forefront) gathered together Ten Thousand of his people, a hundred hundreds of warriors, advisors, and nobles, and led them on the Eastfaring quest out of the hell that Fronela had become, finally finding refuge in a cold land east of the Sweet Sea. The Ten Thousand freed the land from the Spolite Empire of Gloom and settled there, in the rich lands of the Oronin River Valley.

Sironder had a son by Charmain, a magical blue woman from Lake Oronin, and this son was Karmanos. Karmanos was strong in the ways of war, cunning in the ways of sorcery, discerning in the ways of command, and wise in the ways of judgment. He communed with the Good God and his prophecies set the foundation for our church as his laws set the foundation for our government. He went among the people and preached the Truth. He built orphanages and churches, courts and castles, and was acclaimed the First of the Lion Shahs of Carmania.

The Carmanian Empire was mighty and terrible, by turns carrying bright civilization to barbarians, destroying its enemies with cold and black cruelty, or ravaging the land with bestial rage. It changed with the times, and at its most bestial period the Red Goddess gathered armies and monsters against the evil empire, devouring and transforming it into the Lunar Empire. The cycles of the Lunar empire are much gentler than the old ones; this is a good thing.


The Good God is Supreme among all the gods. All proper worship of other gods is also worship of the Good God. He is named Idovanus by the Magi. The Red Goddess, his favorite and best-beloved child, transmits his blessing to us. Shah Karmanos, who walked the Sword Bridge to Paradise, was the last and greatest prophet of the Good God and the father of our land.

The EthTelsen are the many gods of the elements and truths which the Good God in his kindness allows man to worship. The Rebel Gods, and Ganesatarus and his Evil Gods, may not be worshipped by the righteous. The Magi of the Good God joyfully swear a solemn oath to worship none but the Good God, but the Priests of the Hundred Gods and members of their congregations are expected to worship the EthTelsen. Sometimes the Magi issue a Jargiz to confirm that the Good God has spoken and a god is one of the EthTelsen. Other times the Magi issue a Fatawa to confirm that the Good God has spoken and a spirit is a rebel god, or a servant of Ganesatarus and must not be worshipped.

Tap is the gods' death and may not be used lightly. Upon penalty of death for both instructor and student none may learn or teach Tap, excepting only the Magi, and it may only be used by order of a Karmanos on enemies and foreigners.

Love the Truth; and Hate the Deceitful Lie that is spread by Ganesatarus and his dark servants. Make war against the rebel gods, including Orlanatus and his household. Destroy evil and create good. Ruin that which is ugly and decorate that which is beautiful. Be cruel to your enemies and generous to your friends. A man is righteous by his actions. Inaction is Deceit. Act to find the Truth. Seek a righteous balance in your actions and so will you reach Paradise.

The Satraps honor the Red Emperor and his emissary the Governor. Sirdars honor their Satrap. Fazziks of lesser houses honor their Sirdar. As each Fazzik honors and obeys his rightful prince, so must each man and woman honor and obey their Fazzik.

When he is a boy, the vizirs read the fate of a male child and raise him to his caste: hazar; vizir; or karmanos. It is possible to be adopted into another house or reborn into another caste. That is how capable men rise in Carmanian society. Men and women are not born equal, any more than all men are born equal. It is in man's nature to face darkness and evil and act to destroy it. It is in woman's nature to receive action and transmute it into creation. This is why women are of fewer castes, the caram caste for those who pursue the traditional ways and the waleesha caste for those who desire an active, dangerous life.

The law says "Do not ruin that which you love." This guides our marriage laws. Karmanoi should marry many wives, vizirs should take only one, and hazars should take none. As karmanoi have the greatest resources, so they are also obliged to take several wives, to love them well and care for them. As Vizirs have stable lives and sufficient provender they should take a wife when they are ready, but must not wait until they become old and mean. As most Hazars have little resources and are often abroad for years, so they should not take a wife unless they have retired and are relatively wealthy.


The Leaders of our Church are the Hierophant and the House of the Magi: The One Hundred Ancient and Respected Vizirs. The Magi convey the Hierophant's divine prophecies to the holy church and to the Priests of the EthTelsen. When one of the Magi dies then if a suitable candidate is available within the House of the Magi he will be raised to Magian status. If no suitable internal candidate is available then the Good God will reveal a Magian among the vizirs, and he will be adopted to the House of Magi by acclamation. This is how it has always happened in the past, and how it shall always happen.

The priests offer obeisance to the EthTelsen, the one-hundred lesser gods that we as righteous Carmanians may worship.

Important Prophets, Saints and Gods


Karmanos was the Last Prophet. He was the First Shah. He was the Lion of Brass. He founded Carmania and the Karmanos caste is his. He taught us how to walk the Sword Bridge to paradise. His mystery cult is extinct, but he inspires every ruler still.

Sironder and his Six Boon Companions

Sironder (Syranthir Forefront) and his Six Boon Companions led the ten-thousand on the Eastfaring, eastwards from hell, finally arriving in the Oronin River Valley. Sironder was the Overlord of the ten thousand, and these were his six boon companions.

Periotri Narozanko was Sironder's Minister of State. His skill with words brought the Ten Thousand safely across the Sweet Sea with the cooperation of the savage blue race of men that dwelt within it.

Svangis Ossetawar was the Most Learned of the Magi and Sironder's childhood tutor in religion. As strict as a Brithini, he was 125 years old when the Eastfaring began, and lived until his birth-family's cassir was completed in Jhor.

Balagasso Davit was the General of the Army of the Right Hand. He was a bold warrior, highly cultured, and brought at least two-hundred personal servants with him. He was able to cheer Sironder when none else could, and he died in the Spolite ambush at the site called Balagasso Canyon.

Kart Zavai was the General of the Army of the Center. He was a devotee of the Earthshaker, Maran Gor (in some of the older writings she is called Merun Gevargh), and lived to crush enemy lines, to destroy the foe, to hear the wailing of the enemy's women, for conquest. He was also a great, kind man. He took one hundred new wives after one battle, even adopting their children, when he realized their men were dead and else they should die in the cruel winter. There are poorly attested rumors, mostly local to Worion, that Kart Zavai was a woman. It is not unknown for women to be warriors or to venerate the Earthshaker, nor for female warriors to marry "wives" and adopt children, but it is unusual. As Irripi Ontor himself wrote, this would have caused enough notice that it would have been a common theme in the legends.

Rastria Peruta was the General of the Army of the Left Hand. He swore obeisance to Cloud Father and had strange ways, but was a powerful warrior and a good leader. His men loved him. He slew the Dragon of the Esel but died in the doing. There is a star in heaven with his name.

Wasputi Meifan was the General of the Outriders. She was a woman who wore a false beard and men's garments. Cunning and devious as one would expect from the army's chief spy she eased the passage of the Ten Thousand through Harangvat and Char-Un lands. After Sironder disappeared into Castle Blue she served loyally as viceroy and saw to young Karmanos' schooling and training. She died old and in bed, surrounded by her family. Her name may be the source of the word "waleesha."

Seven Mothers

The demigods who put the Red Moon in the sky did a wonderful thing for the world. They resurrected the Good God's first and best beloved child, long thought lost to Chaos. All praises to them.


Black Arkat was a great warrior who turned to darkness. His greatest deed was to free the world from Gbaji the Deceiver. Where the Deceiver was bright Arkat opposed the blinding light and brought darkness to a land that needed it. His story shows us why the ways of darkness can be dangerous, for in devouring the Deceiver he doomed his soul to eternal torment.


Talor, the Laughing Warrior, battled darkness and brought light. His greatest deed was to free the world from Gbaji the Deceiver. Where the Deceiver was dark Talor opposed the devouring darkness and brought light to a land that needed it. He taught the Song of Battle by which our hazars may achieve strength through joy.


Humakt was the perfect warrior. He showed that Death could serve Life, and Horror could serve Honor, to bring the glory of the Good God to the whole world.


Malkion was the first prophet. He brought the word of the Good God to the people and showed them how to survive during the great darkness. He taught how the duties of the people of each clan should be split into the three classes: protector, guide, and leader. He taught the Solace of the Body and hinted at the Sword Bridge.


Hrestol was a prophet of the Good God who taught the Joy of the Heart.


Saint Xemela, the Black Lady, mother of Hrestol. If you ask her, she will teach you how to heal others and destroy yourself. The Black Ladies are her followers. Treat them with utmost respect, for their time is filled with suffering and their end comes all too soon.


There are two notable heresies in Carmania today.


The Socialists believe that when society as a whole becomes unbalanced in some way then man should become unbalanced in the opposite way, to balance it out; as if Balance were a scale and men were ingots to be weighed. Socialists forget how important it is that the righteous individual demonstrates Balance within his or her self, both light and dark, kind and cruel, creative and destructive, all at their proper time. The Socialists were crushed by the Black Shahs a hundred winters before the Moon rose into the sky, but their dangerous heresy continues underground even today.

Invisible Orlanth

This may be a heresy or it may not. There is no doubt of its secrecy; it is difficult to penetrate to its mysteries. This might not be the same god as the rebel god Orlanatus whom the barbarians worship. Apologists for the cult claim that Invisible Orlanth is that face of Orlanatus whom the Red Goddess has healed, and now he is the breath of the Good God. Prudence dictates that we keep clear of this cult until the Hierophant and the House of the Magi issue a Jargiz or Fatawa.

Attitudes Towards Other Sects


The Red Moon embodies the Balance between Light and Darkness as she moves both visibly and invisibly through her Seven Phases. Her Point of Balance is as dangerous and holy as the Sword Bridge of old, and we may attain Paradise by walking along it, always perceiving the Truth of our place and our actions. There are mystics and visionaries in the Empire who move blindly and instinctively to achieve their higher fate, but embracing such insanity has never been the Carmanian Way: we know where we stand, we comprehend the reasons for our actions, and we move consciously towards our ultimate aims. Thus we can perceive the True Lunar Faith beneath the multitudinous masks and illusions of the Red Goddess more swiftly and surely than her other followers, and act decisively and with purpose to further the Lunar Way.

Dara Happans

The Empire of the Sun turned its back on the Darkness and was overthrown by enemies it could not perceive, let alone confront. The Dara Happan way was ever too gentle, too soft and decadent: they lacked the edge of steel, the grit and determination which led us to victory over them. Their civilisation and its luxuries are admirable, but not enviable: our iron is stronger than their gold. Better a harsh land that breeds heroes, than a soft land breeding slaves.


The Land of Women was dominated by our ancestors ever since the Ten Thousand liberated them from the Spolite Gloom. These are a slothful people, who had mysteries but no understanding, art and poetry but no aptitude for decisive force and action. They are content in their inferior status, as we could never be.


The Enemies of Civilization. The Golden Empire of Carmania was conquered by barbarous Bull People when it lapsed into Dara Happan decadence, and theirs was the savage force that wrongly opposed the Red Moon Goddess at her advent. The Barbarians still oppose the armies of Truth and Light, and so we make their homelands the Abode of War. Whether near at hand in Vangstal and Brolia, or in far-distant Dragon Pass, they are the enemies of the Lunar Way, and must be brought to heel.

Horse Nomads

Since the Moonrise, we have lived as neighbors to the unruly and brutal Char-Un of Erigia, but our hazars have often taught them the error of their ways. In the Dark of the Moon, we Carmanians were the last true followers of the Magnificent Shah, afterwards recognized as Moonson: at Kitor we swept the horse nomads aside like an avalanche, then reforged the Empire from the ruin they had made of it. Our brass-scaled cataphracts with their scimitars of steel and will of iron can defeat ten times their number of craven, skulking Pentans: they only learn to fight when they enlist in civilized Lunar regiments, under Carmanian cavalry officers.


Cowards and traitors who fled from the Horse Nomads to the distant West. Whatever they may claim, they are no true kin of ours.


They have abused, tormented and corrupted True Religion into a mishmash of sorcery and blasphemy. Do not listen to the lies of the infidel! Until their eyes can be opened, they are lost to the Good God, dupes of the Deceiver!

Special Sorcery

Ban <cult>

Not resistable. Each intensity of this spell reduces the chance of the target successfully casting spirit and divine magic learned from <cult> by 5%. Bound and allied spirits, and those minklinked to the caster, should be checked to see if they are also affected. It has no effect on any other spirit or divine magic.

There are no known Ban <cult> spells against Orlanth Rex or Yelm Imperator. Ban <cult> spells are known to exist against Gorgorma, Yu-Kargzant, Shargash, Storm Bull, Tawar, Kyger Litor, Humakt, Chalana Arroy, Lodril, and the entire panoply of Pentan and Char-Un spirits, plus others at the GM's discretion.

Valid HTML 4.0! Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Loren Miller and 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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