When the Wolf Howls
The Second Age
Taken from An Introduction to Glorantha.
The Second Age, also known as the Imperial Age, is a time of unprecedented discovery and exploration. For the first time, trade and travel allows the interaction of far-flung cultures. Both Empires innovate feverishly, unveiling new forms of magic, new devices, new modes of perception.
Against this backdrop of unfettered progress, dark omens gather. The God Learners and the Wyrmfriends have pushed Glorantha’s eternal laws of myth and magic to the breaking point. How long will it be before the world strikes back at them, punishing their unprecedented hubris?
The Second Age is a time of Empires.
The Empires of Glorantha Four empires – more, if one chooses to include the non-human ones – control Glorantha. Of these, two seek to tamper with myth.
• The God Learner empire of Jrustela, known also as the Middle Sea Empire, seeks to manipulate myth as part of the great schemes and desires of the Invisible God and his prophet, Malkion. Their power is such that individuals can enter the mythic realm and change myth, bringing about wholesale physical change in the mundane world.
• The Empire of Wyrms’ Friends seek to transform the world into a vast dragon, rejoining with the Cosmic Dragon which they, along with the dragonewts, believe created the universe and has been injured by impurity and the breakage of infinity. The EWF seeks to create new myths, based on draconic enlightenment, that will, in the not too distant future, cause the world to transcend and join with the Cosmic Dragon, remaking infinity.
These are the two dominant human empires of Glorantha during the Second Age, but they are not the only ones. Two other empires are important to note.
• The Solar empire of Dara Happa, worshippers of the Sun Emperor Yelm. These children of the Sun seek to establish Yelm’s influence across the world, battling the influence of Yelm’s enemy, the Storm God Orlanth. But the Solar Empire is under the control of the EWF and is developing a draconic nature that some have embraced but many abhor.
• The Old Ways Traditionalists – those who continue to worship the Storm Tribe, the pantheon of gods who, before time, challenged Yelm and through the courage and strength of their chieftain, Orlanth, gained dominance of the world, even though this led to the sun’s death and the onset of the Great Darkness. The Old Ways Traditionalists are beset on many sides: by the Middle Sea Empire, which seeks to show them that their beliefs are false, in the light of the Invisible God’s wisdom and solace; by the EWF, which seeks to draw all races into the Great Dragon’s enlightenment; by the Solar Empire of Dara Happa, which has not forgiven them for the death of the sun.