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A wealthy, semitropical, civilised matriarchal culture of City States
Political Situation/Current Ruler/Pretenders
Esrolia is ruled by ‘Grandmothers’, each head of a Matrilineal family or clan. Within the clan, the Grandmothers word is absolute law. A council of Grandmothers settles disputes between clans, although the politics are vicious. Cities are ruled by Queens who are selected from amongst the traditionally resident Clans. Queens preside over a ruling council, whose composition will vary by city, but usually contains clans, temples, and powerful merchants. The Queen of Nochet is traditionally titled as Queen of Esrolia. The current queen, Samastina, overthrew her pro-lunar predecessor, Hendira, in a coup in 1622. Her current biggest problem is her former ally, Harrek, whose piracy threatens the trade Nochet relies on.
It is fundamental to Esrolian culture that men are more interested in glory than true achievements, and whilst as representative of the husband-protectors of the Goddess, and worthy of loving and cherishing, they are not reliable enough to be leaders.
Approximately 10% of the population is Urban, and Nochet is probably the largest city in Glorantha, with over 100,000 people living there (of which 40,000 or so are members of Enfranchised Clans). All women of politically powerful clans have a basic shift of white, denoting the virtue of purity. The shift is sometimes coloured, as richness increases, and sometimes nearly invisible under overgarments whose elaboration increases with rank. Trim on the hem and sleeves of this shift denote current occupations within the family. The ranking elite wear green with silver trim and the highest ranks wear various patterns of silver brocade. The “flowered green women” are the thanes of the Esrolian matriarchy. The trim and brocade often spells out words or even sentences in the Kanvulvretan script. Each Enfranchised clan has its own distinctive hairstyle (or sometimes hairstyles), which helps signal allegiance.
Male dress shows similar signs of rank and importance. Slaves and servants are often naked to the waist and wear a sort of kilt. For slaves, a neck collar – a mere cord for most slaves, a silver collar or torque for valuable ones (sometimes enchanted to leech away Magic Points) – marks their status. Free men wear long tunics like the Heortlings, but never wear trousers.
Holy people have their own distinctive attire. Many priestesses have distinctive robes that are open to the navel, leaving their breasts exposed.
Urban architecture can reach three stories, built out of adobe or stone, with terracotta tiles, and are typically built around courtyards, with entry into the building from the courtyard. Only shops, taverns, and food vendors are entered directly from the street.
Dominant Cults/SubCults/Represented Species
Earth Cults, especially Ernalda are dominant in Esrolia, but the Great Hospital of Chalana Arroy and a major Lhankor Mhy library are to be found in the city of Nochet. Also notable are Ernalda’s husbands and lovers. Orlanth is foremost, but Argan Argar, Flamal, Lodril, Magasta, Storm Bull and Yelmalio are all honoured.
Whilst the vast majority of Esrolians are human, the Holy Country, of which Esrolia is a part, also contains the Shadow Plateau, so Trolls are not unknown in Esrolia.
The climate is subtropical, in Fire Season Esrolia is warm or hot, humid, and with mild winds that might come from any direction. Temperatures might range around 35c during the day, and 20-25c at night. North winds mark the harvesting Earth Season. In Darkness and Storm Season north winds are even cooler, and often bear cold rains, even so even night in Darkness season rarely breaks freezing point. In the Sea Season warm storms bring abundant rain from the south west
Notable Locations and Map
Ezel: The temple city is sacred to Ernalda, and her greatest temple.
Necropolis: A large necropolis on an island on Bakana lake. Although nobody sends their dead here anymore, the population is still growing. The priestesses (“The Keepers of the Dead”) regularly lead worship and offer sacrifices to keep the dead happy. Once a year, the dead leave the necropolis and travel the sacred road from Ezel to Nochet.
Nochet : The Greatest city of Glorantha. Famed for its Hospital, its Library, and its Market (temple to Issaries), and the capital of Esrolia. It also contains a temple to Dormal, from where the first sea journey started, after the Opening of the Seas.
North March: The northern area of Esrolia, abutting on Dragon Pass. notable features include the Building Wall, a magically erected wall which thwarted a Lunar invasion, and Valadon, the lowest point of the Lykos river which is fordable, and the site of a major market.