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Wind Pirates of Orlanth - History


The world is a very different place than it used to be.  What was once two large continents separated by a large ocean has become a myriad of islands somehow supported in space.  At the centre of the “world” is the large island of Dragonsrest.  High above Dragonsrest is the Red Moon which resembles a ball with an enormous bite taken out of it.  The Red Moon slowly rotates so it shows a different face every night.  On opposite sides of the Red Moon are the mysterious Blue and White Moons which orbit the Red Moon.  Higher than the trio of moons rides the Sun known by different names to different cultures.  The Sun traverses the sky from west to east in an odd orbit that seems to shift back and forth across the sky imperceptibly from day to day resulting in seasons.

Emanating from Dragonsrest is the current of air known as the Dragon’s Breath.  This massive jet stream arcs out from the island for hundreds of kilometres and then loops back passing the island only to arc out in the opposite direction before eventually returning.  The shape of the current is that of the Infinity Rune. 

The countless islands of rock and dirt that are all that remain of the landmasses of Glorantha are scattered in the aether which makes up the universe.  For whatever reason they stay where they are. They are not scattered as if on a plane and some are “higher” or “lower” than others.  The Lunars term the smaller islands that are were blown higher the Highlands.  Conversely the larger pieces that didn't travel so far are known as the Lowlands.  Scholars theorize that there was a mighty explosion and pieces were hurtled various distances, perhaps due to their weight before all of the moving pieces were suddenly stopped.

Most islands are within sight of another but travel between was impossible until the rediscovery of boats and ships. Men watched birds fly between islands with jealousy for years without solution. It was possible to “swim” between islands but they had to be relatively close together. It is possible to build bridges between islands and this has occurred wherever the islands are close enough and the resources exist to do this. (Some islands that are resource rich even have stone bridges between them!) In many places people eventually discovered that you can paddle logs or rafts between islands with large paddles that would resemble fans to us. This allowed people to carry enough food and water with them to survive longer voyages. You couldn’t travel against the Dragon’s Breath in this fashion. You could make one way trips easily enough and there are many islands that are not in the Dragon’s Breath.

It was the Lunars that rediscovered sailing. They had early on discovered that their Moon Boats could float down the Moon River that flows from the Red Moon. This allowed them to conquer Dragon’s Rest fairly early in the 4th age. The Moon Boats are relatively flimsy 
craft made of reeds and ill-suited to inter-island travel.  Dragon’s Rest had a large population and many rich resources and once it was under Lunar control it allowed them to build larger inter-island craft which made it possible for them to start adding the neighbouring islands to their new Empire. At first this only included nearby islands and those downstream along the Dragon’s Breath but roughly 75 years after they had started expanding their empire someone rediscovered a treatise on sailing and the Age of Sail began.

The Moon River is a magical effect that occurs every seven days.  The scimitar shaped Red Moon accumulates magic during the week  in the bowl made by the Dragon’s bite.  Every seventh day this bowl overflows and the River flows down to Dragon’s Rest .  The Moon Boats are the only craft that can ride down this flow.   This trip was one way until the rediscovery of sailing.

Chaos hasn't proven to be as common as it was in the Third Age but there must be either be some island somewhere overrun by Chaos or there must be a rent that occasionally opens to outside of the Universe because every so often an island will be overrun by Chaos or a ship will encounter a large, seething mass of Chaotic life that drifts on the wind.  These are known as Chaos Seeds and the only solution to their menace is fire.

Timeline

Year

Event

0

The destruction of the old Glorantha.

1-150

Very little inter-island traffic.  Various small kingdoms are created in different regions of Glorantha.

100

The Lunars first send their Moon Boats down to Dragon’s Rest.  At first they trade peacefully as the only way to get back up is by a long ladder.

150

Moonson has a change of heart and sends an invasion force down to conquer Dragon’s Rest.  Once the island is pacified and new ships are built the Lunars start conquering neighbouring island mostly so they can use their natural resources and manpower.

150-225

A period of slow Empire building for the Lunars.

225

A scholar in the Lunar city of New Glamour re-discovers the art of sailing against the wind.  This allows better ships to be made and a new age of sail to begin.

225 – present

The Lunars now expand their Empire to more islands due to their ability to sail against the wind.


Last updated October 07, 2009