Oliver Bernuetz

The Glorious Sons, Part 2

Of course I remember the Glorious Sons. Forgetting them would be like forgetting family. Once he had gathered all his recruits, Carpathia and his Templars had donned their wargear: full plate, hoplite shield, longspear and great crested helm. We were ushered into two parallel lines and shown how to march. And we were marched hard. With the eternal confidence of youth we had thought ourselves so fit and healthy but Carpathia Three-Boots who must have had at least a decade on any of the recruits and who marched in full armour shamed us. Each night all we were able to do was collapse into a deep sleep while he laughed at us. Next to me in line was a lad from the backwoods who told me his name was Alakoring Windbearer. He had the marks of Orlanth on his cheeks just like my grandfather had, though my grandfather’s marks had been faded blue and Alakoring’s marks were fresh and raw. Alakoring seemed keen on renewing what he called the traditional rivalry between Yemalio and Orlanth. At the noon break he would remain standing as long as possible and at night he would never complain of his aches and pains despite his slow and stiff movements.

We descended out of the hills of Sylila and headed northeast along the Eurustus River for a couple of days until we saw the blessed Oslir. We camped again and then after asking the Goddess’ permission we spent the next day crossing the river using local ferries. Once on the far shore we headed north again. A few days later we reached a town called Yarbesh. Off to the northeast was a range of hills and Carpathia Three-Boots told us that they were the Vanch Hills where the Hill of Gold is located. We were all suitably awed and he promised us that we would see the Hill someday. It took us the rest of a week or so to march until we reached the Bokisin River. We camped again and then crossed that river.

Near the end of the day we saw off in the distance an odd green hill that glistened like precious stone. Someone asked if that was our destination and Carpathia shook his head no. “That is Shargash’s city, Alkoth. To enter there you must die. We are to make camp south of Alkoth.” We all felt a thrill of fear at being this close to Hell.

At the end of that day with Alkoth still looming in the distance to the north we met a caravan of wagons with covered loads on a dusty road. I can still recall the speech Carpathia Three-boots made to us. He climbed up on the tail-gate of one of the wagons dressed in his full templar kit of partial plate, great helm and crest, large hoplite shield and long spear.

“Welcome, recruits, to the Glorious Suns. The Emperor in his wisdom assigned me the task of creating new units to support his armies in our war against the vile Carmanians and I have decided to call you the Glorious Sons. Glorious because that is the future I see for you. Sons, because we are all sons of someone and ultimately we are all sons of the Empire.”

So did he address us, the recruits he had dragged kicking and screaming out of our homes and in many cases parent’s arms. He was trying to instill a sense of purpose and belonging into us and it wasn’t working yet. What did we lads who had just become men or our older brothers and cousins who had never really struck a blow in anger have in common with this titan in plate? His troop of Thunder Delta slingers and the spearmen he had stood to either side of the wagon. But Carpathia Three Boots was a keen judge of men. He wasn’t finished yet.

“I see you standing there looking at me and wondering what you have in common with me? You’re wondering where do you get your set of plate, hoplite shield and longspear?” With a loud clang he tossed the shield to the ground. With a clash he tossed the spear on top of it. He started unbuckling straps and two of his men clambered on to the wagon to help him. He tossed piece after piece of armour atop the pile he was making. Last to go was the helmet and with almost contemptuous ease he snapped the crest off and tossed the helmet onto the pile. He stood before us wearing only his tunic (and his three boots of course).

“Now we are equal. To go into battle wearing all that metal requires a great deal of training. Yes, you are harder to hurt but you are also slow and awkward. A lighter armoured man can run circles around you if you’re alone in that rig. Yes, in masses a phalanx is hard to beat. But the Carmanians have armoured men riding armoured horses. They are even clumsier and more awkward.” He gestured and the wagon drivers pulled back the covers off of their cargo. We craned our necks to see and saw javelins and spears, leather armour and large shields. Carpathia nodded and two of the slingers ran up. They quickly buckled light greaves and vambraces and a simple cuirass of boiled leather on. A simple metal helmet without a visor was added and a large shield, two javelins and a short spear were handed to him.

“This is what the Glorious Sons will fight in. My hoplites will be your officers and the slingers will fight alongside us. Everyone will receive this gear and be trained how to best use it. If you prefer a sword or axe and shield to spear and shield or a bow to the javelins that is fine.” As he spoke all the hoplites had removed their armour. Soon they were dressed in the same kit as Carpathia. At the sight of this many of the lads gave a half-hearted cheer. Men started unloading the wagons. As they started showing us how the armour was strapped on Carpathia raised his hand. “Know this. By taking up his arms and armour you swear allegiance to the Emperor Kumardesh. At this point there is no going back.” Having no other option we donned the Emperor’s equipage. After we were all dressed Carpathia addressed us again.

“Are you ready to learn how to fight, men?” Nods and weak yeses were all he got in reply. He spoke louder. “Are you ready to fight, men?” A little more volume and enthusiasm greeted this. He shook his head and bellowed. “Are you ready to be men and fight?” This startled us but we returned his shout with shouts of our own: “Yes we are ready to be men and we’re ready to fight!” “My life is dedicated to the cause of Empire and the Emperor. Let’s see you live up to the name of your birthplace. Make the Land of Heroes proud.”

We repeated this oath. Of course we had no way of knowing what that all involved.

After leaving Heartridge the PCs find themselves part of an ever-growing group of young, and no-longer-so-young, Alakoringites who have all “volunteered” to serve in the Emperor’s army. Carpathia Three-Boots, it seems has scoured the region known as the Land of Heroes to collect every able-bodied young man in the region. (Hopefully the war won’t spread as far as the Land of Heroes, which has been severely weakened militarily speaking). Exactly 160 young men have joined the Glorious Sons. It seems to be a large force to the PCs but most are woefully inadequate at fighting.

Carpathia and his Templars herd the recruits from the gentle rolling hills of Sylila to the southern edge of the Dara Happan lowlands. The change is gradual but the countryside goes from the relatively wild hills where most of the subsistence is from cattle and sheep herding to the long settled and flat lowlands where the rivers are very important and mostly crops are grown. The stolid Dara Happan peasants stare at the “wild” hill folk who are in a state of sensory overload. The Sons are up before dawn to perform their devotions to Yelmalio. Then after a hearty breakfast of barley porridge they break camp and march until nightfall eating their noon meal on the march. Carpathia's aim is to keep them distracted and tired during the trip so they can’t cause trouble. The whole trip from Sylila to Alkoth takes about 10 days in total.

Author’s Notes: My preliminary research for the area was a little hasty so my original background for this campaign turned out to be inadequate. I’ve hopefully fixed that and I have posted a corrected version of the first scenario on my website

Background for the Taming of Votankiland

Much has changed in Dara Happa since the events described in Dara Happa Stirs. The Emperor Karvanyar died fighting the Pentans in 945. His brother Sarenesh succeeded him the following year and ruled until 960. That year Sarenesh was forced to abdicate. Since he had three sons (Heredesh, Sassacar, and Verenmars) the High Priest of Dayzatar divided the Known World among them, giving Heredesh Yelm’s Portion (Dara Happa), Lodril’s Portion (Carmania) to Sassacar and Dayzatar’s Portion (Saird) to Verenmars. But Veremars had heard a prophecy foretelling that “someone destined to unite a people in greatness” was going to be born in the Land of Heroes (a region between Dara Happa and Saird) so he coveted it. His brother Sassacar was suspiciously agreeable and the Land of Heroes, rightly part of Yelm’s Portion, was gifted to Verenmars as well.

The three sons of Sarenesh lived at relative peace and so did most of their successors but things have changed recently. In 1042 the leaders of the Empire of Wyrm’s Friends were betrayed by the dragonewts and slain by dark troll assassins. A great battle was fought against the EWF and the Dara Happan forces were victorious. The kings of Saird being the closest to Dragon’s Pass have long turned their attentions away from Dara Happa and Carmania. Those kings have well earned their sobriquet of dragon slayers in the years since the kingdom was founded. The successors to Verenmars have either forgotten or ignored the prophecy about the Land of Heroes. That portion of the Land of Heroes on the north-western bank of the Eurustus River has fallen under Dara Happan rule and with the great defeat of the EWF a major purging of the region occurred to remove all EWF taint from the region. (A great deal of the Orlanthi taint was removed as well in the process).

The year is 1079 ST. Two years ago during the Mountain War the Emperor Kewetdevsus the Besieger was slain by the Carmanians. His successor's name is Kumardesh. Shah Massantar rules Carmania and it was his army that slew Kewetdevsus. It is against him that Kumardesh wishes vengeance. Meanwhile Suzaraug the Warhound, King of Saird keeps his face turned towards the dragon lovers. The Dara Happan armies have gathered for war but await the forces of Alkoth before they engage the Carmanian forces.


Here’s the events that happen in this part of The Taming of Votankiland campaign. Things can easily be added or deleted as needed. Events are described

1) Clayday, Harmony Week, Sea Season

After ten days marching the Sons arrive at their training campsite south of Alkoth. Setting up of the camp.

2) FireDay, Death Week, Sea Season

This is a Shargashi holy day. The episode described below occurs.

3) Windsday, Fertility Weed, Sea Season

The footrace occurs.

4) Wargames

The event known as Wargames occurs sometime after Fire/Death/Sea and before Fire Season. See below.

5) Find the Ball

This event occurs in Fire Season sometime. See below.

6) Freeze Day, Truth Week, Fire Season – Field Trip!

The Yemalio worshippers among the Sons travel with Carpathia and the Templars to the Hill of Gold in Vanch to perform the heroquest known as "Yemalio Serves His Father".


Whoever has possession of the Spear of the Dawn is called Balazar by Carpathia Three-Boots. This name, like nicknames throughout time and space quickly sticks to the spear bearer. (His fellow Heartridgers can go by the names Elkoi, Trilus and Dykeno (the masculine form of Dykene) if they haven’t already chosen names.

The Trouble With Orlanthi

Among the recruits Carpathia has gathered are a sizeable contingent of lads from clans way, way back in the hills whose people still follow Orlanth. Oddly enough exactly a quarter of the total. Carpathia was doubtful about mixing Orlanthi and Solars together but he decided that he couldn’t afford to be picky. Unfortunately the lads prove to be a source of tension. This is mostly due to their ringleader Alakoring (no, not that one). Alakoring wants to be the living embodiment of Orlanth on Genertela and this means he sticks to what he sees as a fairly strict script of Orlanthi behavior. This includes copious amounts of bad poetry and a constant competition with any followers of Yemalio. For some reason he’s decided to focus his attention on the young Balazar.

(Actually, it’s the iron spear. He saw through The Spear of the Dawn’s illusions right away. He’s decided to single out Balazar as a competitor since he and Balazar have the only magical iron weapons in the Sons).

The competition quickly escalates to ridiculous levels, especially if Balazar encourages Alakoring. For example if Balazar takes four pancakes for breakfast Alakoring will take five. If Balazar is sent to fetch a javelin for Carpathia Three-Boots Alakoring will do his darnedest to beat him to the armory and get back first with two javelins. This competition is a constant source of amusement to the entire camp. Alakoring’s fellow Orlanthi think it’s all a bit rich. However they are prepared to go along with it because it provides some much needed amusement. The Templars think it’s a riot, the slingers are amused but puzzled by it all and Carpathia ignores the rivalry as long as it doesn’t escalate to the point of unnecessarily endangering any of the Sons.

When Alakoring was born to the chief of his village a wise woman took the auguries and had a vision showing that he would be a great hero someday. The vision showed a distant mountain and a magical sword. Alakoring doesn’t feel that the Glorious Sons has room for more than one hero and he’s determined that he will be that hero. Alakoring bears many of the virtues of an Orlanthi hero. He’s brave, heroic and generous with his friends. He bears a magical iron longsword that he found on the very outskirts of Dorastor. Travel there is of course forbidden but Alakoring foolishly accepted a dare to go there. He set off with a party of his friends and kinfolk but only he returned bearing the sword. He feels a great deal of guilt over this and is determined that he will become a great hero and avenge his dead friends and kin. The sooner the better.

1) The Camp

When Yelm was given charge of the universe He built a great ziggurat in a great city. From atop the ziggurat where He sat on His golden throne He looked around Him and named the four directions. Before Him was East or Insight and its colour was yellow. To His back was West or Sovereignty and its colour was red. To His left was North or Wisdom and its colour was white. To His right was South or Strength and green is its colour. He thought this good and decreed that there would be four cities representing each of the virtues in each direction.

The main camp is set up following the same pattern as Yelm’s great city. It is a circle divided into four quarters each representing one of the traditional camps of Solar mythology. The East Quarter is the Yellow Camp which represents Insight. The West Quarter is the Red Camp representing Sovereignty. The South Quarter is the Green Camp representing Strength. The North Quarter is the Alabaster Quarter representing Wisdom. Carpathia Three-Boots explains all of this to the Sons as two of the Templars draw a large circle on the plain south of Alkoth. Once the outer circle is drawn the circle is quartered by the addition of paths laid along the inner boundaries of the camps in the form of a large X.

He chooses four of the Sons seemingly at random to lead each camp. One of the chosen is Alakoring Windbearer and another is Balazar. The other two are called Gromit and Walls. He tells these leaders that they can dice for the privilege of choosing which camp they and their followers will occupy. He tosses a set of gold knuckle bones down and gestures for them to roll.

To simulate this get the player portraying Balazar to roll for him or herself and allow the other PCs to roll for Alakoring, Walls and Gromit. Whoever wins gets to choose their camp first. Alakoring’s choices in order of preference are:

South – Green - Strength

North – Alabaster - Wisdom

West – Red – Sovereignty

East – Yellow – Insight

Neither Walls nor Gromit have any actual preference. Balazar’s choices are up to him or her. Once the camps are chosen Carpathia instructs the remaining Sons to choose their camp. The numbers interestingly turn out to be perfectly equal at forty per camp.

The leader’s first task is to lead their camp in scouring the fields for enough fist-sized stones to outline their camp. They are each provided with a large pail of paint of the appropriate colour to decorate the stones with. Once enough stones have been collected and painted tents are erected and everyone is allowed to go to sleep before the training begins.

Carpathia tells the Sons of his intentions to remain until the end of Fire Season so they can train. And train they do. Carpathia and his men put the Sons through a grueling regimen of training that involves getting up at the break of dawn to offer worship to Yemalio followed by a hearty but uninspiring breakfast of barley porridge, a few bits of delicious dried fish from the Oslir and some bits of dried fruit. Then they spend the day sparring and running and drilling. The only day they get any time off is Fireday when they spend most of the day in devotions to Yelmalio. This extends even to the Orlanthi who Carpathia insists at least become lay members of the cult.

Training lasts from Windsday, Harmony Week of Sea Season to Godday, Illusion Week, Fire Season or roughly 14 weeks.

The Glorious Sons’ Equipment

What the Glorious Sons received as equipment is the following:

This adds up to 11 ENC and -4 penalty to SR. They also receive the following weapons:

This is a further 7 ENC.


TypeSIZReachDamageAP/HPCombat ManoeuvresENCLoadRange
Short sword*MS1D65/7Impale, Slash1--
Short spearML1D84/5Impale2--
Target shieldLS1D44/12Impale2--
JavelinH-1D83/8Impale, Pin Weapon (Shield)1-30 m

On top of this everyone is expected to carry a backpack containing the following:
2 weeks trail rations1
Boots (Common)-
Cloak (Common)0.5
Flint, striker & tinder-
Gloves (Common)0.5
Sack (Large)1
Spare water skin (empty)-
Water flask (full)1

Any additional equipment will have be added to the encumbrance of the assigned gear, i.e. 24 ENC.


Carpathia explains to the troops that they are now skirmishers in the Dara Happan army. As such their jobs will be to scout and harass the enemy. If they face heavy infantry in battle their job is to run away after a round of missiles and then once they are out of immediate charge distance they can regroup and go back to pelting them with missiles. In the case of Carmanian cataphracts their job is to get out of the way and leave them to the phalanxes. Lighter infantry and missile troops are to be their natural prey.

The Sons spend a lot of time practicing tactics that will improve their survivability. The Templars don their plate and pretend to be Carmanians for many of these exercises. The Thunder Delta slingers who spend a lot of their time down by the river show them how to fight missile troops and other light infantry.

During the training each of the Sons gains soldier as a profession and receives the following skills:
Common Skills: Athletics +5%, Brawn +5%, Evade +5%, Resilience +5%, Javelin +10%, Spear and Shield +10%*
Advanced Skills: Lore (Tactics)

*Players can substitute Sword and Shield if they like.

At this point they can also spend the remaining 50 points of their free skill points. However they cannot dedicate more than 10 points to any given skill. These can of course include their new professional skills.

Because Carpathia and his Templars are all quite devout they include a lot of religious instruction with their day to day training. This allows everyone to make one experience test as though being taught by someone with a 45% skill in Teaching.

For example Balazar, Lore (Yelmalio) 33% makes his experience test. He rolls a 42 and fails his roll. His Lore (Yelmalio) goes up 1/5 of his INT score (13 so 3) plus 5 points.

Another benefit they can gain is that each week of the 14 week training period can be used as an improvement roll for increasing either STR or CON.

For example Trilus the Glorious Son has a pathetic CON of 4. He’s decided to increase his CON during the 14 weeks of training. It takes 4 weeks before his CON increases to 5, After 5 weeks his CON is now 6, after another 6 weeks his CON is now the somewhat less pathetic value of 7. So after 13 weeks of strenuous training his CON has gone up 3 points!

These characteristic improvement points cannot be combined with other improvement rolls and do not extend past the 14 weeks the Sons spend training.

2) The Drummers

This episode is included to add some Gloranthan colour to the scenario.

We heard them long before we saw them. Suddenly there was a crash of sound like the very Sky Dome had opened up and all the palaces of heaven had come crashing down. We all looked up but all we could see in the sky was Yelm’s chariot. We looked around from east to west, north to south before one keen-eyed Son shouted and pointed toward the green wall of Alkoth. A procession was coming around the wall towards us. It was a troop of drummers. As they neared we saw them better. They were big, hairy, scarred, men wearing nothing but loin cloths. Around their necks they wore rawhide strips on which heads were strung. Some were fresh and some were bare skulls and others were all stages between. As they passed I swear that one opened its eyes in terror and mouthed ‘Save me'. The procession consisted of a pair of warriors yoked front and back and bearing a great bronze kettle drum between them. On either side another pair of warriors wielded two great skull-headed maces they used to bash a rhythm on the drums. As they drummed they and the drum bearers danced in a shuffling, pounding, earth shaking rhythm. They alternated beating the drums with tossing the skull maces back and forth in amazingly intricate patterns. I counted eight drums and 32 Shargashi.

“Each drum bears the name of a defeated foe of Shargash. They are said to be the skulls of dead gods.” Thus spoke Carpathia Three-Boots who had come up behind us as we watched the procession pass awestruck. I looked closer and saw that the drums were indeed all slightly different and they did bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a human skull, only larger. “The largest and most resonant is called Orlanth. But that cannot be true can it.” Carpathia sounded unsure as he said that. Someone asked whether we could follow and see where they were going. “It’s never wise to interrupt a Shargashi ceremony but they have ways of letting people know when they’re not wanted. Let us follow cautiously.” So like rabbits we followed behind the procession as it wove its way along the trail keeping keen eyes trained on the drummers lest they suddenly turn their attentions to us.

Finally we reach a spot that surprises no one. We had found the burnt circle weeks earlier during our training exercises and had long wondered why there was such a lifeless, charred spot in the verdant fields around Alkoth. It was different now as a tall wooden post had been erected in the centre of the circle. Tethered to the post by a golden chain was a powerful nude man. His eyes had been torn out and he bore the marks of long and thorough torture. He looked odd to our eyes and Carpathia’s muttered word of “Carmanian” explained the oddness. We stopped at what we hoped was a safe distance. The drummers, not missing a beat or a step, set up station at the points of the compass. When they took up their stations the Carmanian stood up straight and stared up at the sky. His mouth opened and he seemed to be mouthing words but we couldn’t tell if he spoke or not. Or even if he was capable of speech. He kept it up throughout the drumming though.

If we had thought the drumming was wild and primal before we had been mistaken. The drumming took on a feral tone and the drummers started juggling their skull maces between teams. One drummer would toss his sticks to a neighbouring team, one of whom would grab the sticks beat the drum with a frenzied tattoo and then toss them onward. We quickly realized that one set of drummers were tossing their sticks sunwise and the other anti-sunwise. And then suddenly the skulls were on fire. And still they passed between teams blazing as they flew. And the tossing and the drumming pattern became more and more intricate. And then the sticks were passing perilously close to the Carmanian and the beat became even more intense. And the drummers and the bearers intensified their stomping as if they wanted the earth to open up and swallow them all into Hell.

The Shargashi were stomping on the ground ever quicker and the sticks were flying ever faster in ever more complicated patterns when suddenly it was over. With one last mighty crash the drummers struck their instruments, stomped their feet one last time and as one flung their skull maces at the Carmanian. Instead of dropping from the impact of the maces he burst into flames which reached towards the heaven in a mighty gout. We imagined we heard one last scream before he collapsed in a pile of ash. Sweat pouring down his body one of the drummers approached the pile of ash and raising his burly arms to the heavens uttered a mighty command. The ash pile whirled and swirled and rose into the towering form of an Ashman. The drummer pointed imperiously towards Alkoth and the Ashman tottered unsteadily towards it becoming ever more steady as it went.

Still ignoring us the drummer rejoined his team and forming a procession again they headed back towards Alkoth keeping a more moderate but still impressive beat going as they went. Profoundly disturbed by all this we went to resume our training but Carpathia visibly shaken shook his head no and we returned to camp instead.

3) Shieldpush

Carpathia Three-Boots is a big fan of the ancient Dara Happan game of Shieldpush. (Rules for Shieldpush will be published in Rule One issue 13). He introduces the Sons to the game and divides the four quarters into Shieldpush Teams.

Carpathia tells the gathered Sons the odd myth of The Rose and Dusky Orbs first saying: “It’s uncertain what the origins of this myth are. Some scholars purport that it describes the origins of Shield Push but most devotees of the game dispute that.”

Dawn and Dusk did feud. At first naught but haughty looks flew back and forth but soon they switched to words and baleful glances and finally with intent of mayhem each hurled their beloved orb at the other. Being full of grace though each caught the other’s orb and so avoided lasting harm. But each looked down at what they held with disgust. “What is this thing I hold? This orb displeases me. I wish I had my own to hold once more.” Each glared at the other. “Return my orb to me!” Each shouted and implored but neither would risk the other ending up with both.

Dawn turned to her ten golden suitors and Dusk to her ten violet ones. “Fetch me my orb my sister has stolen”. They turned to do her bidding but were called back at once. “But take care to shed no blood lest Yelm burn us with His displeasure. The suitors nodded and arming themselves with shields they went to wage bloodless war. The two lines of suitors strained and pushed at each other trying to force the other back. It was a titanic battle but eventually one of the line of suitors managed to force the other back so they could take the orb back to its rightful owner.

You can play an actual league if you’re so inclined or you can just abstract the whole business with some opposed rolls. The biggest rivalry is of course that between Balazar’s team and that of Alakoring.

This is the challenge that Alakoring is prepared to wager his golden wheel on.

Side note: You can perform a Heroquest based on this but it does require a regulation Shield Push team to do so. It’s extremely dangerous for some reason and has a Resonance of 150%.

4) Wargames

Carpathia Three-Boots is sending the PCs to set-up a watch station in an abandoned farmhouse. Alakoring and his main Orlanthi cronies are going to attempt to assault the farmhouse and take them out. Everyone is armed with light clubs and heater shields. The end of the clubs have been tightly wrapped in rags to make them even less dangerous. Everyone in the watch and the assault team has a leather scabbard for their club that contains a thick, sticky paint in their camp quarter’s colour. The marks left by the clubs is supposed to let a Templar sent as an observer determine who has been disabled. Everyone is allowed to bring their regular weapons along as well but they have all been peace strapped and everyone is told in no uncertain terms that they are NOT to use their regular weapons on each other. If they do so they will be severely punished. It is up to both parties to decide how they will guard and assault the farmhouse.

The farmhouse is situated in a shallow bowl in the plains an hour’s walk from the camp. It has a single room roughly 6 by 10 metres in dimension with a cellar with a well in it. The flat clay roof is too shabby and worn for anyone to walk on but the walls are still stout. It has a rather solid wooden door as well.

Unfortunately there is a good reason why the farmhouse is abandoned. In the cellar of the farmhouse is an old well that leads all the way to the underworld. Years ago the family that lived in this farmhouse were slaughtered by a demon that escaped from hell using the well. After that the well was sealed. Unfortunately the seal was broken by the same earthquake that opened the tomb of Yazur Firelorn. No demons have made the trip from the underworld but a single dehori has made the trip to the surface. It was frightened by the proximity to Alkoth but sometimes hunger trumps fear.

A group of dehori have chosen this night to creep out of the underworld and see what they can grab to eat before fleeing to the underworld. Unfortunately this is the same evening that Carpathia Three-Boots has sent his green recruits to spend the night in the farmhouse. It’s also possible that Balazar and his friends are sent to the farmhouse instead.


STR 2D6+4 (11)
CON 2D6+1 (8)
SIZ 2D6+6 (13)
INT 2D6 (7)
POW 3D6 (11)
DEX 4D6 (14)

1-3 Right Leg –/5
4-6 Left Leg –/5
7-9 Abdomen –/6
10-12 Chest –/7
13-15 Right Arm –/4
16-18 Left Arm –/4
19-20 Head –/5
Combat Actions: 3
Strike Rank: +11
Movement: 8m
Traits: Darksense, Lifesense
Skills: Perception 30%, Persistence 45%, Resilience 45%, Stealth 35%


Dehori attack with claws and, when engulfing a victim, fearshock. Fearshock is a direct assault on the victim’s psyche, presenting him with images of the dehori’s hellish chthonic realm - so terrible that, in the most extreme cases, they may cause instant death. When a dehori uses fearshock on a victim, it matches its Persistence against the victim’s Resilience in an opposed test. The Dehori Fearshock Effect table determines the result.

A dehori can only use fearshock on a given victim once per round. Unconscious beings are immune to fearshock. Besides to the fearshock attack, dehoris generate an aura of intense cold. This causes no damage to creatures near the dehori (though they can certainly feel it), but it does damage creatures wholly or partially engulfed by the dehori. Every round a dehori is engulfing a victim, the victim takes 1 hit point of cold damage to one of the locations engulfed by the dehori. Armour and protective clothing are unable to prevent this damage

Dehori Fearshock Effect Table

Dehori Succeeds,
Victim Fails
Victim collapses for 20 minus CON rounds. Roll a successful Resilience test or die.
Both FailVictim is Demoralised (as the Common Magic spell). The effects last for 20 minus CON rounds.
Both SucceedNo effect on creatures with normal INT. Creatures with fixed INT are Demoralised (as the Common Magic spell) for 20 minus CON rounds.
Dehori Fails,
Victim Succeeds
Victim unaffected, cannot be targeted again for 24 hours.

Note that dehori take double damage from iron and are demoralised (like the Common Magic spell) by magical light. This lasts until the magical light is removed.

5) Find The Ball

One day the Sons come back from their usual training to find all the tents have been struck. In their place a pole with a reed basket has been placed in each quadrant of the camp. The baskets are 7 metres above the ground. The poles are all well dug in and have been heavily greased to make climbing very difficult.

Carpathia walks up bearing a sand timer (like a small hour glass) and a brass horn. He addresses the Sons:

"The purpose of this exercise is to be the first group to find their own ball. In each basket atop these poles a coloured ball rests. The first group to bring their own ball to me will be the winner. The winning camp will not have to perform any chores for the rest of the week. There are only two rules! The first, no violence. The second, no flying. Flying will be met with slingshot! You will gather in the field beside your quarter to plan. You will have one turn of the sand timer to prepare your strategy. When this horn sounds you are free to act as you’ve planned.

The no flying rule will be met be loud groaning from the Orlanth as many of their members can use flying magic. A turn of the sand timer is only 5 minutes.

Camp QuartersColoured Ball
South – Green – Strength Red
North – Alabaster – WisdomYellow
West – Red – SovereigntyGreen
East – Yellow – InsightWhite

The pole the ball is on corresponds to the complimentary Solar virtue.

This is a chance for your PCs to think up their own solution to this problem. The easiest way to get any ball down is to chop a pole down. Each pole has 6 AP and 30 HP so this isn’t an easy task. Chopping the first pole down though only has a 1 in 4 chance of finding the right ball though. (The chance obviously improves after the first pole but the other teams may have found their ball before them).

The best thing to do is to determine which pole is the right one first, then chop it down. The best way to do this is very Solar. Build a human pyramid and look at each basket to see which one has the right ball in it. This act requires an basic Athletics roll for the group and then Perception + 20% roll to see which one has the right ball in it.

6) Field Trip

Near the end of the training period Carpathia Three-Boots is planning a trip to the Hill of Gold. He wishes to perform the Yemalian heroquest Yemalio Serves His Father. This is the traditional initiation ceremony of Yemalio worshippers. Carpathia is joining the ranks of the Light Sons and is going to initiate any of the Sons who wish to join the cult as initiates.

Yemalio Serves His Father

In a time of great excitement and swearing of fealty Yemalio decided that he would go to his father and swear his fealty as well. His mother smiled indulgently at him and said, “Yemalio fealty to your liege is proper and righteous but you are still a baby. You cannot go to your father and swear an oath of fealty. You must wait until you are grown.” Saying this she kissed him on the forehead and blew out the lamp and left him in his cradle. But Yemalio said, “I cannot wait. My father needs me. I must go and swear my loyalty to him.” So he crawled over the side of his cradle, picked up his rattle and crawled out the window. He dropped to the ground and started crawling off towards the brightness in the distance he knew was his father.

As he crawled along he came upon Griffin who lazed atop a rock basking in Yelm’s brightness. Griffin looked down at the young god and spoke. “Where are you off to my tasty little morsel? Would you like to stay to dinner?” Yemalio looked up at the great beast, sat up calmly and shook his rattle at the great beast. The rattle was so loud that Griffin was startled. He ruffled his feathers and arched his back. Sitting back on his haunches he spoke again, “Oh, is that you Son of Yelm? I did not recognize you. Where are off to on this fine day?” “I am on my way to swear fealty to my father.” Griffin smiled at him. “Well that certainly is the proper thing to do but you are not a beast like me. You cannot come before your father on all fours. You must march into his presence like a man.” Yemalio frowned at this. “You are right. I must walk like a man.” Saying this he pulled himself upright using the rock Griffon was resting on. He took a few hesitant steps before finding his stride. He swung his rattle on his shoulder and set off towards the brightness. He called back over his shoulder, “Thank you Griffon.”

Next he came upon the Shargash who was guarding Yelm’s presence. “Halt” he said. “Who goes there and what is your purpose here?” “I am the Son of Yelm and I am here to swear fealty to my father.” Shargash nodded. “That is fitting and proper. But,” he said holding up his mace to bar the way. “You cannot go into Yelm’s presence garbed as you are.” Yemalio looked down at his swaddling clothes and his rattle and nodded. “You are right brother. But where am I to find the proper garb?” He looked around but the only ones present were himself and Shargash. He looked at his brother. “Would you lend me your clothes so I can stand before my father.” Shargash laughed at the idea. “What? And then I would wear your swaddling clothes and bear your rattle?” “Please brother, for my sake?” asked Yemalio. Shargash shook his head ruefully and sighed. “All right then for our kinship.” They swapped clothes and Shargash stood at guard wearing swaddling clothes and wielding a rattle. Yemalio put on Shargash’s clothes and armour and swung his mace onto his shoulder with great difficulty. Shargash swung the great doors open and gestured for Yemalio to enter.

He turned towards his father’s brilliance and hesitated. What if his father was displeased to see him? His father’s radiance was fearful to see. He could not see the gods within the great room. He steeled himself though and entered. Once he entered the brightness lessened so that he could see the gods and goddess within. He saw his uncles and brothers arranged in order of precedence and his aunts and sisters along the side walls. Ahead he saw his father on his throne with his mother beside him. She smiled at him and nodded her approval. He walked towards his father and sunk in obeisance.

There was a smile in Yelm’s voice when he asked, “Who is this mighty warrior I see before me? He must be mighty indeed to be here before me wearing Shargash’s armour and bearing his mace. Arise mighty one and tell us of your lineage.” Yemalio arose and after a bit of stumbling explained his rightful place in the world. Yelm nodded and spoke. “Welcome my son why are you here?”

“Father, I am here to prove my fealty and loyalty to you. I would serve you as it pleases you.” “Rise my son. You please me right well. It is very fit that you serve me. I would give you gifts so you may serve me better. “ Yelmalio rose and Yelm gave to him arms and armour that suited his status as a soldier. “But every gift comes with a price so as to remind you that it wasn’t easy for you to make your way here.” Once he was garbed and armed Yemalio turned to face his kin and they cheered at his righteous behaviour.

Carpathia addresses the Sons:

“Tomorrow the Templars and I depart for the Vanch Hills. Anyone among you who wishes to become an initiate of Yelmalio is welcomed, nay encouraged to travel with us and undertake the heroquest we will be performing.”

The gathered Sons start chattering excitedly and exchanging glances. Before anyone has a chance to reply though Carpathia holds up his hand and speaks again.

“I must emphasize that only Sons who wish to become initiates may join us. I also have to state that none of the Orlanthi worshippers are welcome. I do not believe that I need explain the reason behind this. This ritual is only for Sons wishing to become proper initiates of Yelmalio. At some point in the future if any of the Orlanthi wish to become initiates of Yelmalio as well I will arrange something. However this time the ceremony is only open to the other Sons.” He says this all without apology. The Orlanthi shrug nervously and look at each other, then assure their fellow Sons that they will do nothing to harm their heroquest.

The ceremony is meant for those seeking to change their status within the cult. Only about forty Sons are interested in becoming initiates, and no one other than Carpathia is ready to change his cult status. (Carpathia is going to become a Light Son). The senior most Templar is left in charge of the camp and everyone is quickly made to realize that there will be no goofing off during their absence. Training will continue as usual.

The party leaves the camp before dawn on Wildday, Illusion Week, Fire Season. Carpathia’s intent is to reach the site of the Hill of Gold before the dawn of Fireday. The trip can be as eventful or uneventful as you like. This close to the Empire the countryside is fairly peaceful. It is roughly 160 kilometres as the eagle flies to the town of Bikhy. It will take 5 days to walk the distance. The plan is to walk to the banks of the Bokisin River and then follow it until they reach Bikhy.

Carpathia is not a fool and certainly would not take a bunch of green lads into outright danger. He hopes that no one will be performing the Hill of Gold quest while they are at the Hill. He is no God Learner and is going to re-enact the myth of Yelmalio Serves His Father. He is sure that the enhanced chance he has of performing the quest will ensure that their quest will not be hijacked. When they reach the temple of Yemalio at the Hill he makes arrangements to lead his new initiates on their quest the next morning.

The HeroQuest

The heroquest “Yelmalio Serves His Father” has a resonance of 50% meaning the difficulty at which each stage is tested against is 50%. All the stages are at the base chance of difficulty and three out of the five stages must be passed in order to become an initiate. (Normally initiation would be automatic if they were the sons of initiates themselves, but none of the lads questing with Carpathia are).

Stage 1 Movement

This stage requires a successful test against Athletics.

Stage 2 Bravery – The Griffon

This stage requires a successful test of either Combat to scare the Griffon, or Influence to persuade him to let you pass.

Stage 3 Kinship – Shargash

This stage requires a successful test against Lore (Yelmalio) to remind Shargash of your kinship.

Stage 4 Persistence

This stage requires a successful test against Persistence to be brave enough to continue.

Stage 5

This stage requires a successful test against Lore (Regional) or Lore (Yelmalio) to finish the quest.

When they stand before Yelm all they can see is a blinding presence. This is because they are unworthy in Solar eyes to worship Yelm directly so they are unable to perceive Him. If they managed to pass three of the stages they become initiates and have the option to accept a gift and its required geases. See page 189 in Cults of Glorantha for the gifts and geases. This gift takes the physical form of the gift.

After this stage the heroquest is over and when they leave Yelm’s court they find themselves back in the mortal world.

As he is leaving the throne room Balazar is drawn to a window. Beside the window stands a god wearing a blue robe embroidered with stars and holding a copper-covered book. The god gestures at the stars outside the window and says, “The future.” If Balazar looks out he sees an unfamiliar landscape of rolling plains and hills. A strange stone arch bridges a stream. When he looks back the god has vanished. If he looks out the window again he sees nothing but fog.

All he can do is leave the throne room like the others.

The NPCs

Alakoring Windbearer

STR 16
CON 14
SIZ 17
INT 13
POW 11
DEX 15
CHA 13

1-3 Right Leg 2/7
4-6 Left Leg 2/7
7-9 Abdomen 2/8
10-12 Chest 2/9
13-15 Right Arm 2/6
16-18 Left Arm 2/6
19-20 Head 4/7
Magic Points: 11
Strike Rank: +14 (+9)
Damage Modifier: +1D4
Movement: 8m

Combat Actions: 3 +2 (due to his magic longsword, Wind). Wind is a magical iron longsword that bears Orlanthi runes.

Armour: Metal helm, linen jerkin and kilt, leather vambraces and greaves: –4 Armour Penalty

Skills: Athletics 81%, Brawn 77%, Evade 78%, Lore (Sylila) 66%, Perception 70%, Persistence 55%, Resilience 74%, Stealth 48%, Survival 70%, Art (Poetry – if you can call it that) 29%

Common Magic: 75%: Bladesharp 3, Skybolt (3) Divine Magic 59%: Pact (Orlanth Adventurous) 60 %, Lore (Orlanth) 50%. Flight. (Alakoring has a -5% chance to cast all magic due to his iron longsword.)

Weapons Styles: Sword and shield 74%, Spear and shield 46%, Javelin 46%.


TypeSIZReachDamageAP/HPCombat ManoeuvresENCLoadRange
Longsword*ML1D86/15Impale, Slash1--
Short spearML1D84/5Impale2--
Target shieldLS1D44/12Impale2--
JavelinH-1D83/8Impale, Pin Weapon (Shield)1-30 m

*This is his magic longsword Wind which adds two combat actions to his total.

Some sample doggerel

Oh bright spear of Yelm, it is I son of the Wind
Come to challenge you in combat fair!
I, scion of the Wind would challenge the scion of the Sun.
Come hither and match your might with mine!

Whither goest thou Son of the Sun,
Stay and match wits and blades with me!
Surely thou art not chicken*

My arms and arms are great and doughty
My breath is strong and mighty
And thou art soft and doughy
I would spin this wheel@ for you
If thou canst best me

You get the idea

* Inspiration may have failed him here

@ He actually does have a wheel he is prepared to wager against Balazar in one of the army contexts. (See below).

Alakoring’s Inner Circle of Followers

Alakoring’s right hand man is named Torath and the other two are named Pay and Joh. Despite the fact that Pay is actually a young woman in disguise, the three are pretty much interchangeable.

STR 13
CON 12
SIZ 14
INT 13
POW 11
DEX 13
CHA 11

1-3 Right Leg 2/6
4-6 Left Leg 2/6
7-9 Abdomen 2/7
10-12 Chest 2/8
13-15 Right Arm 2/5
16-18 Left Arm 2/5
19-20 Head 4/6
Magic Points: 11
Strike Rank: +13 (+9)
Damage Modifier: +1D2
Movement: 8m
Combat Actions: 3

Typical Armour: Metal helm, linen jerkin and kilt, leather vambraces and greaves: –4 Armour Penalty

Skills: Athletics 75%, Brawn 70%, Evade 70%, Lore (Sylila) 60%, Perception 65%, Persistence 55%, Resilience 70%, Survival 70%

Common Magic: 70%: Bladesharp 3, Skybolt (3)

Divine Magic: 55%: Pact (Orlanth Adventurous) 45%, Lore (Orlanth) 50%. Flight

Weapons Styles: Sword and shield 74%, Spear and shield 46%, Javelin 46%.


TypeSIZReachDamageAP/HPCombat ManoeuvresENCLoadRange
Longsword*ML1D86/15Impale, Slash1--
Short spearML1D84/5Impale2--
Target shieldLS1D44/12Impale2--
JavelinH-1D83/8Impale, Pin Weapon (Shield)1-30 m

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