The Third Age of Glorantha!

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Some Notes on Gloranthan Languages

The languages of all Gloranthan mortals developed from a single source, which the God Learners called “Mortal Speech”.

Mortal Speech

There is an ur-language that is the source of all mortal languages in Glorantha. Let’s call that Mortal Speech. This was the language that Grandfather and Grandmother Mortal taught their children to speak with each other. Thus, every mortal language – be it human, dark troll, dwarf, elf, or even menfolk – has certain shared vocalizations in common. All mortal races possess at least the potentiality for communication.

Now that language was first taught over 60,000 years ago (at least according to the Dara Happens, whose chronology I am not willing to dispute). Since then, the mortal races have spread across Glorantha and countless generations have passed. The events of the Gods War separated many mortal races by water, land, and mountain. The division of Mortal Speech into many mutually unintelligible tongues was inevitable.

Runic Speech

The gods of the Celestial Court communicated using Magic, but their children and burtae used runic speech to communicate with others. In the God Time, many of the descendants of Grandmother and Grandmother Mortal mated with the gods, who taught them their eternal and unchanging runic speech.

Darktongue: Creatures of Darkness, such as bats, dehori, Underworld demons, and their ilk, speak Darktongue.

Earthtongue: The speech of the goddesses of Earth, snakes and other reptiles, and other Earth-related creatures.

Firespeech: The celestial language of the Sky World, of fires, and birds.

Seatongue: The language of waves, of rivers, and other the watery depths.

Stormtongue: The language of winds, thunder, rain showers, and mammals.

There is also Spiritspeech, the means of directly communicating with spirits.

The various mortal languages have been strongly influenced by one or more of these runic tongues. For example, the Dara Happen language is strongly influenced by Firespeech, while the Theyalan languages are influenced by Earthtongue, Stormspeech or both. Praxian borrows elements from Spiritspeech, Stormtongue, and Earthspeech! Kralorelan and the other Eastern languages are strongly influenced by Firespeech and Seatongue. The Brithini tongue is strongly influenced by Seatongue and Stormtongue, while the Old Seshnegi and Jrusteli tongue add strong Earthtongue influences. The Middle Sea Empire discovered that Esrolian and Doraddi, two mutually unintelligible languages separated by the Inner Sea and with no historical contact and little mythological connection, share a small number of words derived from Earthtongue.

The more recent language called “New Pelorian” has altered Dara Happan with many words and concepts derived from Lunar sources. It is as yet unknown whether it shares any words with the Blue Moon worshiping peoples of Pamaltela.

Elder Races speech

The Elder Races, being more closely bound to their ancestor gods than are humans, have languages even more strongly influenced by runic speech. Aldryrami is the language of the woods; the different forests of the world have different accents but no different dialects. The dark trolls are so closely bound to the Darkness that they speak the same Darktongue as do their dehori ancestors.

Mostali is unusual in that it does not appear to originate from Mortal Speech and does not have elemental associations.

Draconic also predates Mortal Speech and is extremely different for other races to learn. The Theyalan language spoken in Dragon Pass by the Empire of the Wyrms Friends was strongly influenced by Draconic. Although that language is now nearly-extinct, it is still spoken by the population of Pavis-Within-The-Walls and used in ancient religious ceremonies by the inhabitants of Adari.

A few thoughts on the Imperial Lunar nobility

A few thoughts on the elite of the Lunar nobility. The highest nobility are those who are within two or three generations of the Red Emperor. So a few numbers to see what that pool might look like.

Since 1460 (say 160 years ago), there have been ten masks of the Red Emperor. Before that, the Red Emperor had existed 1250 to 1449 (about 200 years) and had fathered at least a 100 children. Some of these children and their families were recognized by Magnificus during the restoration of the Empire after 1460. Many others had been destroyed by Sheng Seleris or had rejected their birthright to survive in the Celestial Empire.
So let’s assume in 1460 there were 20 “Lunar Imperial Nobility families” that had survived Sheng Seleris. This includes Hon-eel, some of the priestly lineages (possibly House Assiday), and many of the families that have rights to travel on the Silver Bridge. These are the Old Nobility with the most status (although not necessarily the most powerful.

In the last 160 years, there have been 10 Masks of the Red Emperor. The Emperor typically maintains several consorts and concubines. Some (like Magnificus, Robustus, and Militaris) many; some (like Artifex, Celestinus, and Reclusus) very few. Let’s say on average, each Mask sire one child a year. That’s a 160 direct descendants. Each is the founder of an imperial lineage (with a few weird and powerful exceptions like the Tharkalists).
By now, the “average” imperial lineage is 4 generations old, with about 300(!) descended from the founder. That means the New Lunar Nobility probably numbers about 45,000 people (!).
For comparison, that’s about three times the size of the modern Saudia royal family. Like that, power and status is concentrated in about 2,000 to 6,000 individuals, who probably include:
1. All the satraps
2. All the Provincial Kings
3. Most of the Imperial bureaucracy
4. The entire Full Moon Corps
5. Most of the important priesthoods
6. All the Masks of the Red Emperor
In fact, in the Lunar Heartlands, it might be difficult to find someone of power who isn’t part of the extended imperial family (this is at its most extreme in the Silver Satrapy and probably at its least extreme in Sylila).

Draft Dragon Pass Map

The draft Dragon Pass map for 13th Age in Glorantha and the Gloranthan sourcebook is nearly done. Behold!


Kickstarter for 13th Age in Glorantha nearly over

We are entering the end-game of the Kickstarter for 13th Age in Glorantha and the Gloranthan Sourcebook. As of the time of this post, we have about 47 hours left and are less than $2000 away from raising $100k! If you haven’t already, now is your chance to pledge at and reserve your copies of both 13th Age in Glorantha and the Gloranthan Sourcebook. Plus much more!


We’ve already unlocked the Lunar College of Magic and are inches away from unlocking the Sartar Magical Union! Now is the time! Don’t disappoint Gagix Two-barb the Scorpion Queen of Jab!


On magical battalions in the Hero Wars

What defines a magical battalion as a military unit in Glorantha? It is not raw magical power or heroic status of the individuals in the unit; Prince Argrath and his companions posses more raw magical power than a full battalion of the Major Class, and demigods like Harrek the Berserk or Jar-eel the Razoress are beyond the ability of such magicians to even attack.

The magical battalions of the Lunar College Magic (and later of the Sartar Magical Union) consist of 50 to 250 magicians (priests, sorcerers, shamans, devotees, etc) who are trained to coordinate their activities to create a magical effect beyond the sum of the individual members. In the Lunar Empire these are standing organizations operating under the authority of the Red Emperor. In Sartar, these are secret magical societies that cross often tribal boundaries but are allied with Prince Argrath.

Sartar Battalion

Typically, a magical battalion summons a manifestation of their collective divinity – sometimes conceived of as an “over-soul” or wyter, sometimes as the patron deity of the battalion. For purposes of convenience, we’ll call it the battalion wyter (an Orlanthi term not used by the Lunars). The battalion wyter is capable of acting a considerable distance from the magicians of the battalion – normally between 20 and 30 miles, although some battalions are capable of projecting their wyter as far as 60 miles or more.

The battalion wyter manifests itself differently depending on the battalion. The wyter of the Eaglebrown Warlocks was described as a “great brownish eagle with two curling horns, which pulls together clouds with its wingbeats, peals of thunder with its wings clapping, sheet lightning from its eyes when it blinks, and casts down lightning bolts from its feet.” The wyter of the Spell Archers was described as a huge fiery spear cast down from the heavens. The wyter of the Crater Makers is a manifestation of the Red Goddess who hurls down rocks from the heavens!

What is common with each of these magical wyters is their ability to cause damage and havoc among enemy soldiers. An Irrippi Ontor sage once estimated that the wyter of any battalion of the Lunar College of Magic had approximately the same destructive capacity as a regiment of soldiers from the Heartland Corps. The difference was that it could attack from many miles away and was rarely itself able to be directly attacked.

Red Moon Rising

Now that Ducks are unlocked for the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter, our next stretch goals are Monster silhouettes and the Red Moon Rising. I’ll let Rob talk about the silhouettes later today (they are cool!), but I want to talk a little about the Lunar College of Magic.

A prominent superiority of the Lunar Army is their unique use of sorcerers, shamans, and priests organized into permanent military units. Most magical units are assigned to the Lunar College of Magic, including, among others, the Field School of Magic, the Crater Makers, the Spell Archers, the Blue Moon School, the Seven from Vistur and the Crimson Bat. The notorious Broo Regiment and the dreaded Vampire Legion are assigned to the College of Magic when mobilized by the Red Emperor. The largest contingent of the Lunar College of Magic is the Field School of Magic, with its 4 Minor and 2 Major classes (some 1200 magicians in total).

The Lunar College of Magic is not a university for magicians, or some kind of Gloranthan Hogwarts. It is a group of magicians, sorcerers, priests, and shamans that gave been gathered together into regiments under the direct supervision of the Red Emperor and subject to his rules. Each regiment is trained to specialize in a particularly type of magic, and can create mass magical efforts that are far greater than the sum of the individual members.

Most regiments in the Lunar College of Magic have up to 250 magicians and fewer bodyguards than their Sartar Magical Union counterparts. They are collective defended by the veteran University Guards.

Some units of the Lunar College of Magic
I’ll describe the Field School in a later post, but among the other units of the Lunar College of Magic, the most famous were likely the Blue Moon School, the Crater Makers, and the Spell Archers:

Blue Moon School
The Blue Moon School was an independent school of the College of Magic. They preserved ancient Blue Moon secrets from lost Mernita, predating the rebirth of the Red Goddess. They were not subject to the Lunar cycle. Their magic was rumored to involve concealment, invisibility, and mysterious Otherworldly forces.

William Church's original Crater Makers art

William Church’s original Crater Makers art

Crater Makers
The Crater Makers were an independent school of the Lunar Magical Corps. Their training allowed them to collectively call upon the Red Goddess to hurl down huge chunks of roaring rock from the Sky to fall upon their foes. Their magic was subject to the Lunar cycle.

Spell Archers
The Spell Archers were an independent school of the College of Magic. They were mounted sun priests of Yelm who could shoot bolts of fire and collective cast down huge fiery bolts down from the heavens with their spells. Their magic was not subject to the Lunar cycle.

Some teases on the Glorantha Source Book

The 13th Age in Glorantha includes two books. The first is 13th Age in Glorantha itself, which is by Rob Heinsoo, Jonathan Tweet, Ash Law, and Jeff Richard. This is the  hardbound full-color 196+ page roleplaying supplement that brings the award-winning 13th Age rules to Greg Stafford’s mythic world of Glorantha.

But lets talk about the second book – the Glorantha Source Book. By Jeff Richard, this will be approximately another hardbound, full-color book 128 to 150 pages long and is intended to be a primer on Glorantha for folk new to the setting AND provides setting information on the Dragon Pass region circa 1627.  It is more myth-centric than the Guide and its largest chapter is a  Hero Wars era document that applies the God Learner monomyth to introduce the core gods of Glorantha and place them within the various elemental mythic cycles (Darkness, Water, Earth, Fire, Air,  Moon, and … Chaos). Lots of new material in there (especially the Moon cycle myths which should be worth a few directed improvements towards Illumination).

GD007GD007But another is particularly interesting (at least for me), and that is the chapter on Dragon Pass in the Hero Wars. This chapter is completely new and is set circa 1627. This is a time of rapid change and transformation in Dragon Pass and the surrounding lands. For example:

  • Sartar is now free and rules the Far Point. Argrath is the new Prince of Sartar and is aided by the Sartar Magical Union and his Free Army.
  • The map of Sartar has changed. Several old Sartarite tribes have been destroyed (such as the Enstali, Balmyr, Wulfland, and Locaem) and new tribes (some of very short duration) have formed in their place. Many old clans have been destroyed, and new clans have been founded. Other tribes have been broken, like the Dinacoli and Vantaros, and others have changed dramatically. Other old tribes, like the Telmori, at war with Argrath. Old confederations like the Hendriki have been revived and are allied with Sartar. Sartar may be free, but it is a mess.
  • In the north, Tarsh is in civil war, the Lunar Provinces are in disorder and the rule of the Lunar Empire is now confined to Tarsh within the Glowline. There is a new and very ambitious Feathered Horse Queen ruling the Grazelands. Snake Pipe Hollow is now vomiting forth Chaos and new corrupt demigods seek to bring forth Wakboth.
  • In the south, the Holy Country is no more. Sartar is allied with the ambitious new Queen of Esrolia and Argrath leads a loose alliance of Esrolia, Sartar, and Hendrikiland. Harrek White Bear and his Wolf Pirates relentlessly plunder the south of Kethaela, while Queen Gagix Two-Barb and her Scorpion Queendom have ravaged central Heortland.
  • In the east, Pavis is now free and ruled by a lieutenant of the White Bull. The Praxians are united by Jaldon Goldentooth and Praxian war bands follow him deep into Dragon Pass, while raiders harass the civilized lands.
  • The Elder Races are active, the trolls of Dagori Inkarth are on the march. The Dwarf has opened his gates to traders and diplomats, but there is rumors of strife with Greatway.
  • The True Dragons are waking up. The Brown Dragon has risen, the Green Dragon is known to be awake, and the Red Dragon has been seen again.

It is, in short, the Hero Wars.  I’m pretty darned excited about it, and I think it will instantly become a Gloranthan must-have.

For more information on the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter, just go to:

One week into the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter

We are one week into the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter and we’ve not only achieved our funding target, but as of the time of this post, we’ve already unlocked our first three stretch goals:

More Art!
Adding Zorak Zoran cultists as a third class of Berserker!
Adding the Crimson Bat as a fully described Monster!

Next up: Adding the dark trolls as a fully playable species!

Check it out here:

Troll Beetleherd