Monday, 29 February 2016


Mythos and History
Jenarong-Era depiction of Polaris

    During the reign of Yelm, the sky world was harmonious. Dayzatar, the brother of Yelm stood in the centre of the sky in peaceful meditation, and the sky people stood surrounding him, perfect and unmoving.
    Things turned wrong when the Disruptor came. A flaw had appeared in the sky, a dark hole, through which entered Umatum. He would not be still, and he would not be harmonious. He moved about the sky, causing destruction and disorder, until all the sky people were moving in his wake, unsure where to go.
    The sky people went to beg Dayzatar for his aid. He would have remained unmoved, for it was not his place to deal with the impure; but seeing the disruption caused by Umatum, he felt sorrow and anger.
    He took these feelings, and removed them from himself, creating Polaris, the pure fire. Satisfied, he returned to his meditations.
    Polaris, born fully formed, showed the sky people how to oppose Umatum, and drive him down below. With the Disruptor vanquished, the sky people tried to relax, but found they could not stand still. Umatum had used the last of his strength to wrench the sky world, and send it spinning. The sky people did not know where to stand, and were terrified.
    Having once been part of Dayzatar, Polaris knew where the Pillar God stood, and stood above him. He gave a mighty cry, and drew the attention of the sky people.
    As they all stood staring at him, he directed them to their places in the sky, and though they still moved with the turning of the world, they were still in the right places. In this way, Polaris restored harmony to the sky world. Polaris became a hero of the sky people, and married well, fathering many children.
    When Yelm was killed, many things went wrong. The Pillar God crumbled and burned, before turning into ash. This left a hole in the centre of the sky, beneath Polaris. Any lesser being would have fallen from sorrow at seeing the world below all at once, but Polaris had Dayzatar's mind, and was able to withstand the vision. He took some Steadfast, and built it into a wall around the hole. So perfect was his speed, that he could do this before any others approached the hole. When they came, and asked to see what was beyond the wall, Polaris refused.
    At first, many relented, and went back to their proper positions. But a few had too much curiosity, and kept begging Polaris. Polaris took those who remained, and made them swore sacred oaths to follow his every word, and never to repeat what they saw to others.
    So armed, these sky people looked down, and saw the world where Yelm had died, full of impurity and pain. Their hearts ached, but their oaths held, and they did not fall with sorrow.
    While Polaris was taking the oaths of the sky people; his son, the young god Lightfore, looked into the hole. He had not been sanctified by oaths, nor was he as great as his father. He could not stand the sight of the world, and left the cosmos in panic. Polaris mourned his loss, but would not relent in his duty, staying in the centre of the sky, to create harmony. When other holes were created in the sky world, Polaris picked a guard from the ranks of those who had sworn oaths to him. They would go to the hole and erect a wall, creating a small fortress to protect the sky against corruption. They became Polaris' followers, the Star Captains.
    Without Yelm, the gods of water were free to act wrongly once again. They raged against the land, but most of all, they hated the purity of the skies. One of them, the serpent Lorion, desired to taste the purity of Dayzatar himself, to corrupt him with its wetness; and would risk anything to accomplish this. It rose into the sky, bearing within itself, the other gods of water. The foulness in the heavens was so terrible that Dayzatar ceased his meditations. The pure god refused to be tainted by the serpent, even when it threatened to drown the sky world. Dayzatar knew only one thing could be done, he would need to seek out the child Lightfore, and would travel outside of the world and sky to do so.
    When the people of the sky heard this, they wept, for without Dayzatar, the serpent would devour them all. They begged Dayzatar to stay, or to allow them to follow him, but he could not. Instead, Dayzatar gave Polaris a crown and staff, and named him the General of Heaven, who all others must obey. Polaris' great leadership had saved the sky people before, and they were comforted and listened to him.
    Polaris instructed all of the sky people to retreat to the centre of heaven, and to make a great circle of steadfast to surround them all. He called this the Firmament, and when Lorion tried to devour the sky people, he found himself unable to even scratch it, and was diverted to form the celestial river.
    The Firmament was full of all the gods of light, and shone so brightly that the people of the world below could see it now that Yelm was gone. They called it the Celestial City, and tried to emulate it. Polaris felt pity upon them, and so he took part of his Purity, enough that he stumbled for a second, and turned it into a shield. He gave the shield to one of his Star Captains, who took it down to the most worthy man in the corrupt world.
    This was Urvairinus, he was one of Yelm's descendants, and was born on his father's chariot. War was his birthright, and sorrow his mother. He alone was noble enough to carry the Shield of Purity, but terrible enough to do what must be done. When he took the shield, he learned of Polaris, and how he had saved the sky world, and announced that he would do the same upon the earth.
He gathered up a hundred men, gave them the tools of war made by the crafters, and taught them of Polaris, he showed them how to stand, mirroring the Celestial City, with each man guarding his neighbour, and facing the four directions. He named this the Sunstand Formation, and it became the first of the arts of Polaris to be taught to man.
    When the barbarians came to attack Urvairinus, he took his hundred men to oppose them. The barbarians could find no weakness, no flaw in the Sunstand, and though they raged and wept, could not injure a single soldier. Urvairinus was glad, for Polaris had taught him how to protect his people, and he named Polaris the War God, and decreed all soldiers should worship him.
    With the devotion of many, Polaris was able to safeguard the sky world for many centuries, as well as the world beneath, through his followers, the mortal armies, and the Star Captains. And so it was until Dayzatar returned, atop the sky dome where only Polaris could see him. He spoke to his child, telling him of Lightfore, who had truly not gone mad, or been driven by fear, but only left because of what he had seen, the portion of Yelm, descending into the lands of the dead. Lightfore had gone after it, and had now succeeded in aiding Yelm, allowing the god to reascend.
    Lightfore returned to his father, mounted upon a magnificent steed, to proclaim the return of Yelm, and all the sky and earth rejoiced.

Nature of the Cult
Polaris is the Star Lord, General of Heaven, Keeper of the Sky Dance, and Post Top. He is the still centre of the sky, around which the heavens turn. He is patron of dancers, musicians, and, perhaps most importantly, the Dara Happan army.
After death, his worshippers know that they will be reborn in the sky world as motes of light. The most powerful of his followers will become Certami, the warrior gods of Heaven.

Polaris is most commonly depicted as a Dara Happan warrior, standing upright, and garbed for battle. On his head rests a crown of tin, while his left hand holds a spear, around which is tightly wrapped a banner.
Plentonious believed that Polaris was the twenty-third figure on the first row on the Gods Wall, based on the stellar rune being borne on his hat. Despite this, the figure displays none of Polaris' attributes, and is dressed in the barbaric Zarkosite style.

Polaris is associated with both the Sky Rune and the Harmony Rune.

Sky Rune
Polaris is the General of the Sky World and Commander of the Celestial Host. He is the fury of the heavens, and his connection to the Sky Rune reflects this.
An incomplete list of the abilities Polaris initiates have been known to use the Sky Rune for includes: demoralize enemies, illuminate the battlefield, make their weapon burst into flames, purify food and drink, resist doubt and temptation, and summon and command lesser Star gods.
Initiates who are strong in the Sky Rune are loyal, honest, and pure.
Harmony Rune
One of the few martial gods who are connected to the Harmony Rune, Polaris has no power over healing or mending wounds, but instead his powers relate to the creation and restoration of order and proper motion; both in music and war.
An incomplete list of the abilities Polaris initiates have been known to use the Harmony Rune for includes: attract an enemy's attention, direct dancers or soldiers, inspire courage, move in formation, perform magnificent dances, rally troops, resist charge, untiring movement.
Initiates who are strong in the Harmony Rune are calm and patient.

Particular Likes and Dislikes
Polaris has a wide range of allies and friends. He is the General of the Sky, and so is friendly all other sky gods, and his martial power is respected by most other war gods, including ones of enemy pantheons. As the Master of Dance, and lover of Music; he is also popular with artists and commoners, who he has brought joy to through his gift.
His enemies include all gods who invade the sky world, including the barbaric Umatum, the serpent Lorion, and the smothering Netta. Through his feuds with these gods, he has made enemies of the elements of Storm, Water, and Darkness.

Cult Organization and Holy Places
Polaris' cult is so tied into the Dara Happan military, that it is impossible to separate the two.
Each regiment of the military, called Phalanxes number a thousand men, and are led by their High Priest. Many date back to the reign of Urvairinus and take their names from the ancient Stonewall he raised around Dara Happa.
Each Phalanx can be divided into ten Hundreds, or Centuries. They are led by a lesser Polemarch, who prays and commands in equal measure.
Raibanth, the home of the Dara Happan Emperor, is home to the greatest temple to Polaris in the Empire. However each Phalanx has its own temple, located in the regiment's home town, and said to be a watchtower on the Stonewall of Urvairinus.

Polaris' priests are known as Polemarchs, and have traditionally advised and blessed the commanders of the Dara Happan army. Since the start of the Third Age, the commanders have been entirely drawn from the ranks of the Polemarchs, blurring the lines between the positions.

Holy Days
Polaris' High Holy Day is held on the ninth day of Sacred Time. At this point, the Polemarches claim that the sky is in the most harmonious position, with the planets and stars in the correct places, and the sky dome perfectly balanced. On this day the ancient Dara Happan regiments return to their headquarters, and assume a formation based around the positions of the stars within the perfect sky while the Polemarches perform rituals of protection and cleansing.


  • All initiates of Polaris must possess an affinity with the Sky Rune.
  • Polaris may be approached from either the Sky Rune or the Harmony Rune.
  • Only male citizens of Dara Happa may initiate to Polaris.

Polaris had many followers and sons, the Star Captains of the sky world. Some of these beings are potent enough to be worshipped as subcults of Polaris.
Arraz was Polaris' uncle, who had led the sky people when at peace, and yet was himself a servant of Dayzatar. He is the intercessor between the celestial mysteries and normal people. Arraz's subcult provides the Celestial Servant Feat.
Lightfore is the young god, who proclaims Yelm's rebirth by travelling the heavens through the darkness, mounted upon his celestial horse. Members of this subcult can use their Sky Rune to help with riding or fighting atop horses.
While many of Polaris' children became focused on war, Molamin never lost his love of music and dance. While others descended to fight their enemies, Molamin descended to teach others of art. He turned barbarians into subjects by teaching them of art, and convinced many to give up their barbaric music. His worshippers can use their Harmony Rune to unite people.
Anaxial Dynasty fragment depicting a Stonewall Phalanx

Urvairinus was the Emperor who created War, who turned the disorganized fighting rabbles into a great and mighty army, and raised the ten stonewall regiments of Dara Happa. This subcult provides the Stonewall Feat.


  • An initiate of Polaris with a rating of 11W in their Divine Rune Affinity may dedicate themselves completely to Polaris and become a devotee.
  • Devotees are subject to the usual restrictions.

Devotees of Polaris may perform magic feats, repetitions of Polaris' mythic deeds. Some feats are restricted to a specific subcult of Polaris, while others are universal to the cult.

Celestial Servant
Arraz is the servant, he is Polaris' spear carrier, Dayzatar's brow-mopper, and the Queen of Heaven's foot-washer. While he himself may be among the greatest of nobility, he knows his role to serve others, and to go between them and those who are less noble than he. When the Celestial Gods give him instructions, no mortal man may instruct him otherwise, and any words he says are equal to those spoken by the Celestial Gods.
Fallen Star
When a Star Captain falls to the earth it is glorious and terrible. They are fire and light and purity enthroned within a physical form. Their gaze destroys the unworthy, and their spears turn ranks of men into nothing but ash. Even fallen, they do not touch the ground, hovering above it on wings, horses, or beams of light. Their arms and armour are pure gold, and they shine like the sun. Even the darkest battlefield glows in the presence of one of Polaris' servants.
Urvairinus travelled around Dara Happa, and raised ten mighty walls of stone. To provide the walls with life, he raised a regiment for each wall, to protect and worship it. As long as the men stood together, they were as unbreakable as the wall of stone, no stone or arrow could pierce their armour, no force could drive them back, and no doubt would beset them.

Lesser Star Gods
As lord of the heavens, Polaris commands vast hosts of lesser gods, particularly those who follow his role of guarding the stars. These include the Certami summoned by other Celestial gods.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Notes on a map of Seshnela

This Seshnegi map dates to the reign of King Lofting IV of Seshnela. It displays many hallmarks of Rokari map-making, being highly stylised with geometric curves and straight lines and the west being oriented towards the top of the map, pointing to the location of the primeval Land of Logic.
The map displays no political borders, nor geographical precision, making the map useless for exploration or martial endeavours. It was likely that this map was produced for a trading house.
While originally coloured with rich pigments, the lack of any writing suggests it was for use by illiterate merchants. Settlements are instead marked with small coloured circles, with particularly important cities being marked with a rune indicating a particularly important resource located there.

Also included on the map are four mountains. Three are marked with stasis runes, referring to the dwarven held Iron mountains to the south, and the Nidan mountains to the north. The last mountain is marked with the darkness rune, indicating it represents the Uzgor mountains, and specifically Vulture's Peak.
The western islands of Old Seshnela have been to three, likely the three great islands of Pasos: Varskolin, Volonne, and Culonmac.

The Southern Reaches

While covering many different provinces, this is one of the most compressed areas of the map, with the rivalry and occasional wars between Seshnela and the Quinpolic League being completely ignored. Likely, the author of the map rarely came to the southern reaches of Seshnela, leaving him to consult on earlier maps.
From left to right, top to bottom:

Amneleon - This town can be identified by the use of the plant rune, referring to Amneleon's control over Seshnela's Tea production.

Unknown - Likely Urfenoswal, due to its administrative role over southern Seshnela.

Hathwal - Primarily identified from its famous Floating Markets, indicated by the trade rune.

Noloswal - One of the greatest port towns in Genertela, Noloswal recieves little acknowledgement from this map, being notified only by a trade rune. This is part of what cement's this map's Seshnegi origins.

Unknown - Likely Rinalket, a border town between the Quinpolic League and the Kingdom of Seshnela.

Sreborket - The plant rune likely indicates either the sorcerous gardens devised by the city's wizards, or its role in harvesting lumber from Tarinwood.

The Iron Path

Quite possibly the most important trade route in Genertela, this path from Rhis to Relamorket involves a dangerous and exhausting trek through the forested highlands of Noyelle. Many merchants have been forced to turn back by beast-folk who dwell in the highlands, but many more still risk the journey, for the sake of purchasing iron.
From top to bottom:

Rhis - Part of the Castle Coast, Rhis is famous for being the only place where dwarves are willing to trade iron, indicated by this town's death rune.

Priina - The seat of power for the Count of Deu, this city was presumably little more than a resting place for this map's author.

Voi - The harmony rune refers to this city's ancient Xemelan temple and healing springs.

Relamorket - Located at the convergence of the Tanier and Deu rivers, Relamorket is a major crossroads in Seshnela.

The Heartland

This stretch of the upper Tanisor and southern Rindland has been expanded, presumably the result of the map's author's familiarity with this region increasing it's importance. This region is home to many rich wheat farms, compared to the lower reaches' rice paddies. 
From left to right:

Arnlor - This city is home to both the treasury and royal mint, making it the source of Silver Imperials found all over Seshnela and Safelster. The city is also home to many powerful guilds, making this a likely origin for the map's author, and explaining it being signified by the trade rune.

Vetagane - While unmarked, Vetagane is easily identified as the only major settlement between Arnlor and Segurane.

Segurane - Painted in faded gold and bearing the mastery rune, Segurane of the Walls is easy to identify. Within the outermost wall lies the great markets and homes of crafters and merchants, making this one of the greatest centres of trade in Seshnela.

The Safelstran March

The borderlands between Seshnela and Safelster are fraught with danger, over the rivalries between the kingdom and the city states, but also extremely valuable. Ironically, since the Opening, the direction of trade has shifted, since it is now far cheaper to ship goods overseas instead of passing along the Manirian Road.
From top to bottom:

Fornalor - This city is home to some of the greatest stables in the west. The horse breeders here are notoriously exacting, breeding and selling horses that bear the noble colours of black, white, and grey.

Leplain - Painted in azure and marked with the law rune, this is obviously Leplain, city of wizards, and home to the greatest libraries outside of the city of Sog. The markets outside of the Blue Temple are always full of rare goods, for the Ekozite School of Alchemy both needs and produces some of the strangest items in Glorantha.

Dangk - This city is located near to Hrelar Amali, the ancient ruins worshipped by barbarians as the city of the gods. Many pagans still make pilgrimages to the ruins, making Dangk's markets full of foreign, if crude, goods.

Heswal - The trade rune here is an interesting case, for Heswal is more infamously known for the toll placed on all goods going between Seshnela and Safelster. However, on the shores of the river before the island city, merchants have created a shanty market for trading goods, hoping to make extra profit before they need to pay the toll.

Kustria - The death rune marking this city refers to the Great Tournament held here each year. The need for new arms and weapons marks this city as an excellent place to trade oxhides of bronze for other goods.

The North

This region was once the heart of Arkat's Dark Empire, but ever since the empire fell, the land turned to wilderness. Although reclaimed by a succession of Seshnegi monarchs, much of the land is still unsuitable for wheat and rice, leading it to become the home of rye fields  and sheep pastures.
From left to right:

Ukos - The death rune helps signify this town, and refers to its swordsmiths, who are the best in all Seshnela, with their bronze blades being sought after even in far off lands.

Isarnos - While not marked with any rune of importance, Isarnos does have a market, where they trade in devices copied from dwarven plans by adventurous (and somewhat foolish) wizards.

Harsad - Harsad was built to guard over the ruins of Arkhome, and guard it from barbarian grave robbers and Arkati sorcerers. Despite the best efforts of the town's soldiers and wizards, there still exists a black market for Arkati goods within the town.

Xeinar - The southmost point on the Old Imperial Road between Seshnela and Fronela, Xeinar has never profited from this trade. This is because, due to the ancient rituals involved in taking the road, the inhabitants of this town never interact with those travelling between the two nations.

Far Tarins

This province of Loskalm being appearing on the map helps cement the dating of it to Lofting IV's reign, since it was only freed from the ban a mere eight years before his reign, and there would be little land trade between Seshnela and Tarins for years afterwards. This may in fact be the earliest Seshnegi map after the Ban and Opening to show the province.
From top to bottom:

Southpoint - The law rune helps identify this city as the home of the High Watcher of Hrestolism. Despite this, the author's Rokari bias can be seen by treating Southpoint as just another city, without the azure given to Leplain.

Isefwal - Once almost deserted, Isefwal grew into a thriving port once the Opening of the Oceans took place. It's role as the entryway for goods into Loskalm is noted by the trade rune.

Unknown - While likely Tarnwall, this may instead be Omphis, with no identifying symbols to hide that city's role in teaching Men-of-All, considered blasphemous by Rokari.

Midtasker - Although an important Tarins city, Midtasker receives little acknowledgement here, possible reasons include the author distrusting the ancient graves found here, it's importance to the old Middle Sea Empire of the second age, or a disagreement with a local merchant.

Svenlos - Svenlos is the northern edge of the Old Imperial Road, the only safe route through the dangerous Erontree forest. While surrounded by orchards, little of that is recorded here.

Special thanks to Kalin Kadiev for improving the appearance of the map.

Monday, 1 February 2016

New Pelorian

"When a nomad wants to talk of home, when a servant wants to talk of freedom, when a priest wants to talk of the world, or when a merchant wants to talk of gods; they use New Pelorian. It is a language which turns the unknown into the known, turns the strange into the familiar, and the foreign into the intimate. New Pelorian is the greatest gift of the Goddess, for it reveals that We Are All Us." - Poem by anonymous author.

Before the Goddess was reborn, there were three great languages found in Peloria:
  • In the centre was the ancient tongue of Dara Happa, inflexible and exacting, they claimed it was the original tongue of all people. To make the unchanging runes, the Buseri scribes used reed pens pressed into soft clay which was then baked; or carved with chisel and hammer into raw stone.
  • In the west was the strange sounding language brought by the Carmanians. They claimed it was the original tongue of all people. The glyphs used by the Carmanian wizards were painted on papyrus scrolls, made from the reeds around Lake Oronin.
  • In the south came the barbaric Therelmic tongue, which was used in Sylila and the other storm worshipping lands. They claimed it was the original tongue of all people. The ancient symbols were inscribed into wood, and scratched into the hides of animals by the Greybeard sages.
The Goddess saw this, and knew that each language was wrong, but also right. They could not all be the original tongue of all people, but they each contained seed from it. Each had a written form, but they were hidden away by knowledge hoarding cults.

The Goddess sent her daughter, the Great Sister Deneskerva, to find the truth hidden within the languages, so that her message could be spread to one and all, sage and savage. Deneskerva went abroad the fledgling Empire to speak and listen to all those who would talk with her. She heard their words, and found the right ones within them, the words that would be the True Language of the Goddess. When she had them, she went to a scribe to build that tongue. Together, she and the scribe also shaped the Dara Happan runic script into something that could be written on papyrus.

The result, New Pelorian, was a language unlike any other in Glorantha. Its words came from languages all across Peloria, but healed and repaired, so that they were as one. Although one word may come from Carmanian, and another from Dara Happan, through the miracle of the Great Sister, they could be used and understood together, as if they were always meant to be.

The Great Sister spoke to the missionaries of the Red Goddess, instructing them in this new language, which they shared with the people they went to enlighten. Its perfection made it easy to learn, and soon the foreigners could understand the missionaries perfectly. The missionaries were also able to carry sacred texts with them, for papyrus was much lighter than clay tablets.

Within the Empire, the script and words were shared with the scribes of Irippi Ontor, who were not afraid of change like other scribes. They used it to translate the ancient texts into new scrolls that could be read by anyone. They taught it to workers, to priests, and to nobles. Even when their own language was sufficient amongst their own people, New Pelorian was used to speak to foreigners, to record information, and to read the words usually kept hidden by the old priests.

The symbols of New Pelorian
New Pelorian's script was derived from the ancient Dara Happan Sacred Alphabet, but altered to make it easier to learn, read, and write. Allowing literacy to spread like wildfire.

Z        Little changed from the original Dara Happan rune, being only altered to use a pair of strokes.

T        This glyph has not fundamentally changed from the Sacred Alphabet.
U        The bottom part of this glyph has been left off, while the rest has been rounded into a simple loop.

R        This glyph has not fundamentally changed from the Sacred Alphabet.
L/Y        The ancient runes L and Y were simple dots within a square and triangle. New Pelorian has merged the two symbols, if not the sounds themselves (usually), by replacing the containers with the celestial circle.
Th        This glyph has been rounded, and the two sides have been fused at the top for less strokes to be required.
F        Once a diamond with a small line within, the line has been lengthened, and the diamond rounded into a glyph resembling the Moon Rune.
P        The bottom side branches of  this glyph has been left off, while the rest has been rounded into a simple loop.
I        The crossbars have formed a loop to the right of the glyph.
E/V   This glyph still resembles the Dara Happan rune for E, even though it has absorbed the rune for V. This has resulted in a "paddy field" effect for some names, like Everina, the goddess of rice.
M       This glyph has not fundamentally changed from the Sacred Alphabet.
       The lower half of this glyph has been rounded.
      The left and right extremes of this glyph have become more flamboyant, but otherwise it has changed little.
A       This glyph combines both the old A rune of the alphabet, with the feminine suffix which made the same sound, while simplifying both.
H       Like many others, this rune has been rounded, especially at the bottom.
G       This glyph has changed little, with only the characteristic rounding having taken place.
N       This glyph has not fundamentally changed from the Sacred Alphabet.
      Like the glyph for L, the old Dara Happan D rune has been rounded, turning a oblong into a circle.
Sh      This glyph has changed little, with only the characteristic rounding having taken place.
        The top crossbar has merged with the upper limbs of this glyph, which have themselves been curved, making it resemble a staff with an inverted stasis rune atop it.
Qu      The wings of the ancient rune have become a continuous loop, with the dark core being replaced by light.
W       While the crossbar has remained unchanged, the diagonals have become curves.
       The lower strokes of the ancient rune have gone, taking it to a simple glyph.
K        The diagonal stroke to the top right has been eliminated from the ancient rune, and its form exaggerated into the modern glyph.