RQ Homeland Seshnela

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(Taken from Guide to Glorantha, pages 405-407. Used without permission as fair use.)

Seshnela has two parts. Eastward is the Kingdom of Seshnela, centered upon the Tanier River, one of the greatest rivers in Glorantha. This rich and fertile plain supports intensive agriculture, but also broad expanses of open grassland. Lions are still common in Tanisor and lion hunts are an important prerogative of the noble caste. The westward portions, called Old Seshnela, are wild, ruined regions of past history (for example, the coastal region of Arolanit, inhabited by the remains of the once-powerful Brithini culture). Thick Aldryami forests cover much of this region. The southern half of this land has been shattered into countless islands. The northern chain of islands is home to a strange race of Beast Men; the southern is part of the rising maritime power of the Quinpolic League.


The humans are mostly Wareran humans, although a population of Agimori descent live in Pithdaros. Nonhumans include elves, Ouori, Beast Men, and a small number of demigods called Luatha.


Western, Rokari. Seshnela is the ancient home of the Malkioni people, one of the oldest civilizations in Glorantha. The Malkioni are humanists with a complex magico-philosophical religion, famed for their wizards, magical specialists who shape the universe without consent from gods who are elsewhere believed to rule everything. The Malkioni believe all other peoples are inferior barbarians. As required by the Rokari school of Malkionism, caste distinctions restricting diet, dining practices, marriage, occupation, and so on are rigidly upheld so as to preserve spiritual harmony with the laws of Malkion.

In the Second Age, Seshnela was the heart of the old Jrusteli Empire. Now it is ruled by a peculiar alliance between a martial dynasty of aristocrats from the semi-barbarian lands of Rindland and Tanisor and the ascetic wizardpriests of the Rokari school of Malkionism.

The majority of the population are peasants who grow wheat and rice. Other important crops include cotton, vegetables, beans, and a variety of sweet fruits. The Seshnegi peasants use a plow drawn by a pair of oxen or water buffalo. Goats, sheep, and cattle are the main livestock; horses are the prerogative of the upper castes. In the south provinces, water buffalo replace cattle as draft, meat, and dairy animals. Tea (introduced from Jrustela in the Second Age) is a drink of the upper castes – drunk for pleasure, but surrounded by ritual.

Along the Castle Coast live a proud and fractured aristocracy of sorcerer-warriors still aping Jrusteli ways (although not God Learnerism), living in isolated but impressive castles, and attempting to outdo each other in philosophical insight and displays of martial prowess. They are twilight lords, re-enacting the splendor of a bygone age.


Seshnegi, a Western tongue. Each caste has its own distinctive vocabulary. Tradetalk is used as a language of international trade, particularly in the markets of the Quinpolic League.


In the Seshnelan state, the king is the sole and absolute ruler, and his power is regarded as having divine origin. The king is the supreme talar and, at least in theory, is responsible only to the divine law of Malkion of which he is the chief executor (and the Rokari zzaburi are the chief interpreters). The Serpent Crown of Seshnela is restricted to the Balifid House, and is normally passed from father to son. Although theocratic and absolute in theory and in principle, the king’s powers are limited in practice. Political decisions must take into account the opinions and attitudes of important members of the Balifid House, and, perhaps more importantly, have the approval of the Rokari zzaburi led by their Watcher Supreme.

Bailifes the Hammer divided his conquests among his noble companions and allies, especially among the seven major talar houses, and set them up to govern the provinces that make up the kingdom. These counts manage their own affairs, have their own armies, and own the land worked by the peasants. They rule their province in conjunction with the powerful Rokari zzaburi and are entitled to a silver throne as a symbol of their authority. A few prefectures combine several provinces and are ruled by dukes – kings in all but name – who are allowed a golden throne.

The division of the land into independent fiefdoms, united only by the Serpent Crown, has caused continual problems to the maintenance of unity. Strong kings have been able to unite the land and maintain peace. Weak ones allow the land to fall into decentralized anarchy. In the last generation, King Lofting IV and his successor, Guilmarn, have regained direct control of the central provinces through means fair and foul.

Below the king, an expansive and glittering court bureaucracy carries out much of the affairs of government. Within this bureaucracy, the Rokari zzaburi are immensely powerful. They serve as the indispensable scribes, legal experts, priests, philosophers, and metaphysicists for the kingdom.


Seshnelan armies center upon a body of heavily-armed noble cavalry, called cataphracts, raised from the talar caste. Both the horseman and the horse are fully armored in bronze scale. Usually undisciplined, individual noble warriors are nonetheless fierce and well trained.

Talars are supported by non-noble cavalry or heavy infantry from the soldier caste. These professional warriors belong to war societies, each claiming descent from a Martial Beast (best known are the Lion, Mammoth, Wolf, Snake, Horse, Deer, and Bull). Each society is divided into Regiments, groups of extended families headed by a captain. Regiments can number anywhere from 80 to 1,200 men. Most are Sworn Regiments, supported by a Noble House who they have sworn to serve. A few are Free Regiments, free-booting mercenaries who serve whoever pays them.

Most horali fight on foot, although some regiments are mounted. Their weapons depend on their regimental tradition, all carry swords as a right of caste. Most are armed with a bow or crossbow, and a variety of close combat weapons, including a single- or double-handed broadsword, spear, mace, or axe, depending on the regiment. Cavalry carry spears and bows. Soldiers tend to be more lightly armored than the noble cavalry, wearing boiled leather or leather with metal plates.

Each ranking talar maintains his own favorite zzaburi who may travel with the army to provide magical support and aid. Dronar militia are common, but usually poorly equipped and motivated. They are usually armed as spear or bow men, and are more useful for garrisoning cities and castles than fighting in the field.

The maritime cities of the Quinpolic League use triremes to defend their naval dominance. Broad and round hulled sailing ships carry their goods across the oceans of Glorantha.


Malkioni, Rokari School The Malkioni venerate the Invisible God who created the Runes, worshiped as gods by the barbarians. The Runes, in turn, created lesser versions of themselves, often in combination with other Runes. One of these lesser creations, Malkion the Founder, revealed the laws of the Invisible God to men. This abstract Invisible God gives little, if any, direct magic to its worshipers; but knowledge of the divine laws give wizards the power to define and manipulate the rest of the world, and turn it into raw materials for their cosmic alembic. Malkion himself died in the Gods War, killed by rebellious gods. Malkioni wizards now shape the universe without consent from gods who elsewhere are believed to rule everything.

The Rokari School of Malkionism dominates Seshnelan religious thought. Hierarchical and centralized, Rokarism is led by its Watcher Supreme. Rokari wizards believe upholding the ancient castes of Worker, Soldier, Wizard, and Noble is required by Malkion’s cosmic laws. They believe a man need only master his own duties of caste in life to achieve salvation, called “Solace”, and philosophically value a great farmer as much as a mighty warrior or powerful king. Converts to Rokarism are assigned to the most appropriate caste by the local ruler, whose decision is final.

Rokarism rejects the Dawn Age revelations of Hrestol, blaming Hrestol for the later abuses of Arkat and the God Learners, and believes that they have returned to the pure truth of Malkion. The Rokari have purged their sacred Abiding Book of God Learner lies and blasphemies. They imitate Brithini concepts in a limited way: some wizards and lords have gained extended lives through their piety, but most mortals live and die within their born caste. Unlike the Brithini, the Rokari reject the Tapping of other sentients for magical energy.

Rokarism is the state religion of the Kingdom of Seshnela, and is closely allied with the king whose authority and legitimacy is sanctioned by the Rokari wizards. Other Malkioni schools are subject to varying degrees of repression.

In the Quinpolic League, Navigationalism is a growing school, based on ancient prophecies incorporated in the Abiding Book. These prophecies were fulfilled when Dormal the Sailor opened the Seas and overcame the Curse of the Closing. Navigationalism uses explorations in the physical and magical worlds to become closer to Malkion. Navigationalism is the religion of the Duchy of Pasos, and coexists uneasily with Rokarism throughout the Quinpolic League. The Rokari Watcher Supreme is investigating accusations that Navigationalism is a Vadeli heresy.

The Castle Coast preserves a Hrestoli school that is less rigid in its caste restrictions. The Brithini enclave of Arolanit is a stronghold of ancient Brithini atheism. The Invisible God is universally acknowledged there as Creator. No other worship is allowed, even by visiting outsiders. Such necessary rituals as the departure rites for sailors are performed only after the ship has been towed out to an offshore rock.

Creating a character

To create a character from

Base passions

Homeland: base passions
Passion Value

Occupation tables

Roll 1d20 for parents occupation, or choose from the table.

Homeland: parent's occupation
Roll Occupation Caste

Family history

This table determines the history of player characters grandparents and parents. Years are approximate outside of dragon pass, but they correlate fairly well with the years in family history sheet.

Homeland: family history
Year What happened
Your grandparents history
Your parents history
Your personal history

Rune affinities

Cultural skills

Homeland: skill bonuses
Skill Value Cultural weapon Value
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