Beast rune Brolia Air rune

by Andrew Behan and David Dunham
I played Varsthela, a hunter from Brolia, in Martin Laurie's Tarsh campaign. There is very little information on Brolia, so I used additional background from Andrew Behan.

"Brolia: A harsh and broken land so steep that tall trees cannot grow in most places. Raging streams cut bare rock, acidic soil allows only scrub in the open areas, and only the wildest clans live here. Most have neither farms nor metal working." [Glorantha: Genertelan Player's Book]

"...a yellow narl-flower from far Brolia which never fades if sung over each Godsday." [Cults of Prax]

"One spectacular failure [of the Lightbringer's Quest] should be mentioned. Near to Castle Blue a holy man from the Yenstina Clan [Karsen Fardrosson] attempted to undergo this quest. When he failed he seized those near to him, and the result was a trio of stars which fell from the sky and landed upon his people in Brolia and Worion." [King of Sartar]

Brolia joined the High Council of Genertela in 238. In 307, the tribes formed the Somarin Kingdom, "a confederation of many tribes, the gold-speaking Varstalori, the timid Agorni, the mountain-dwelling Nungarings and the distant Vesgarings primary among them. ... Somarin's lifeblood is trade, for its people have learned the ways of the Goldentongue well." [Broken Council Guidebook]

"Arstor is King of the Varstalor tribe of Brolia, and also the ruler of the economically-powerful Somarin Kingdom. The Brolians have supported the Council for a century... Although Arstor governs the Somarin Kingdom, he rules none of the Brolian tribes except his own Varstalor, for each tribe elects its kings according to tradition. However, Arstor's influence extends far outside his own lands. He speaks for the Baloris tribes and the other peoples of the Talsardian Kingdom, which protects the border between Arstor's home and the wild lands of Fronela. Arstor has ties of kinship with the Talastari, for his half-sister is Erilindia of Phandara, the wife of Lokamayadon." [Broken Council Guidebook]

"Lokamayadon is the leader of the Orlanthi of Talastar and Dorastor, and such is his fame and prowess that some of the tribes of Brolia and Aggar have also joined his newly-formed Brotherhood of the Storm. ... He is the great-grandson of Valarastans, Great King of Aggar, and his wife, Erilindia of Phandara, is High Priestess of Brola, mother of the Brolian peoples." [Broken Council Guidebook]

"I think that stuff like headhunting comes to be frowned upon when a culture reaches a certain level of civilization. And most of the Orlanthi in Dragon Pass have reached that point. But if you get up to Brolia they're still sticking people's heads on spikes!" [Greg Stafford in Questlines II]

"Brolia: Land taken by the Andini people, an Orlanthi folk. It was destroyed by ice late in the [Vingkotling] age." [Thunder Rebels]

They are thus the Andam Horde who rode chariots pulled by wavy-horned ordeeds, and who were defeated by Daxdarius. [The Entekosiad]

In "The Migration Downland," Varnaval leads the ordeeds, along with his Wild Companion the Great Andam. [Anaxial's Roster]

Brolia is "home of anti-dragon fanatics" in the reign of Karvanyar (900-950) [The Fortunate Succession]

Brolians are fiercely conservative, and “rebuff all entreaties from Hunting and Waltzing Missionaries. Their white-hot loathing of the EWF has led them to reluctantly accept the protection of Carmanian knights.” Several of Brolia’s great heroes are in the personal retinue of the Shah of Carmania. [Glorantha: the Second Age]

"...a barbarian land of steep hills and deep ravines that plunge into rivers. The people worship Orlanthi gods and Bisosae goddesses. ..." [Imperial Lunar Handbook 1]

Grevlar the Unconquered Gladiator was a Brolian [Under the Red Moon]


Brolia is an Orlanthi hunter-gatherer culture. In the First Age it was more advanced but the Gbaji & Draconic Wars combined with a hostile environment have knocked the Wrothelingans back into the mesolithic. They use stone tools, are semi-nomadic, and have no hierarchies, permanent dwellings or material culture. Exchange is based on potlatch and social prestige is determined by generosity.

They are exogamous, patrilineal and matrilocal. This is part of the reason why Brolians are unable to form tribes, their clans are geographically dispersed. Boys leave their family immediately after initiation forming hunt tents: "fia." Good girls marry as part of their initiation and form a "tine" (hearth) with their new husband.

There are no specialized lawspeakers in Brolia. If someone is believed to have broken the customs of Lanatum a weapontake is called. All adults gather together and decide whether the accused did what they are supposed to have done and if they did whether it is against custom or not. The opinions of the elders recieve most respect, as their youth was closer to the time when Lanatum gave the clans their customs. If the living cannot resolve the dispute the lanating drums up Sarius the Lower Wind who brings his breath to the land of the dead where he asks the ancestors to judge the case. If even that fails he must travel to the Thunderers tent behind the West Wind to ask the custom-giver himself what judgement is to be taken.


Wrothela is cognate with Odayla. However as most Brolians are hunter-gatherers he is the big cultural hero here. He's Lanatum's son. During the "Great Darkness" Wrolat tricked Sarius into letting him marry Brola the Corn Goddess. However because of his connivance with the Deciever a foreign god called the Destroyer killed Wrolat and Brola. Without grain everybody starved. Wrothela discovered the right way to kill animals and married the Ladies of the Wild so that they would permit men to hunt. He also stands in for Fleshman in the Lightbringer's Quest. All adult males (95%+) worship Wrothela.

He had three sons: Xarkarsh, whose descendants are the Dark Tribe; Varstolar, whose descendants are the Squirrel Tribe (the Somarini herders & Anadikki agriculturalists) and Gervain who buried his father and nurtured the Real People.

Wrothela's only temple is his barrow at Gervain (Qasir Javinu). This heavily guarded fortress is a Carmanian colony south of the Jarnan. To enter the fane each devotee must pay Satrap Moralatap a tribute of five hides.

What My Uncle Told Me


Lanatum is the shamanic god. Shamans are called lanatings in Brolia. He invented customary law, the "Orlanthi" greeting and many of the other trappings of culture. Either he or Humakt led the Lightbringer's Quest depending on whom you talk to. He embodies many of Orlanth's good qualities but is much more akin to Kolat.

For a real world comparison think of Thor and Odin.

Other Deities

Wrolat embodies all Orlanth and Lokamayadon's bad points in popular perception. "Wrolat" is what it sounds like when a Brolian says "Orlanth." Apart from a few well-travelled female contraries he has no worshippers.

Other minor deities include Sarius (the psychopomp), Humath LastGasp, the White Lady, Lankoring and Brola (now the Wrothelingan goddess of Dark Plenty, i.e. Hell; the Somarini worship her in both living and dead aspects).

Most women worship the Ladies of the Wild. These are tutelary goddesses each of which controls an area of wilderness (tula) sufficient to support one clan, typically 400 km2 approx. Intelligent animals able to turn into human form (Nehcnush) and aldryami also worship the Ladies of the Wild. A girl's mother's tula determines which Lady she worships. Boys cannot hunt the totem of their mothers' tula. Though the Brolians are nomadic, women must return to the sacred places of their native tula for religious on the seasonal holiday of their goddess. The Ladies are very powerful (albeit immobile) oreads combining characteristics of Aldrya and Ernalda.


Brolians are hunter-gatherers but they aren't hsunchen, at least not in the usual sense. "All" Brolian men worship Wrothela the Hunter. Unfortunately, Javinu, the site of the god's only temple is a Carmanian Qasir.

Women are another story. Lokamayadon raped Brola, the grain-goddess, and the Destroyer killed her. However her daughters, the tula, survived her. Therefore the women of each clan worship a local dryad, the clan tula. However before the humans ever worshipped the Ladies of the Wild the animals did. A different species of animal venerated each tula, and continue to do so. I assume that 2% of any animal population is intelligent (see River of Cradles) and that only sentients count towards temple size. All the same all Brolian clans support tula temples.

In my opinion all sentient animals are "hsunchen" with Transform Head (Speech), Transform Body (Walk Upright) and Transform Limbs (Use Tools) spells allowing them to temporarily take on human form. Many tula priestesses are sentient animals, so naturally the species that worships your tula is taboo to hunt, though the exact reason why is a "womens' secret." This is the Brolian/Hsunchen connection.

Invisible Orlanth

The Wrothelingans of Brolia explain the Invisible Orlanth cult by telling the story Orlanth and the Good God. Orlanth was jealous of the sorcery of the Carmanians so he went to the Creator and demanded to be told the secrets of nature's law. The Creator laughed at his unsophisticated visitor so the Thunderer smashed his head open with his axe. As soon as the dead god hit the ground things began to pop out of existence and everything was caught up in an entropic maelstorm. The Creator's vizirs told Orlanth that all the world would disappear if the Good God wasn't there to think it. Orlanth and his closest kin then descended into Hell and after many challenges retrieved the Demiurge. The rescued God admitted that he was impressed by this previously unseen aspect of Orlanth, which we now call Invisible Orlanth. Indeed the Good God was so grateful that he made Orlanth his messenger to the lands of men and instructed him in the wisdom of Acos.

This is not the mythos associated with Invisible Orlanth embraced by his urbane Carmanian worshippers. (They probably see him as the Holy Spirit to the Red Goddesses Messiah.) On the other hand the Brolians, naturally, don't appreciate all the subtleties of Henotheist theology.

Welcome to Brolia

Imperial Age

In my Imperial Age game, centered in Anadikki, the Brolians are backwards cousins of the Anadikkings. For some reason, they’ve been identified with gophers (as an example of the largest thing most hunters can find) and gopher holes.

Brolia is a hotbed of resistance against the EWF. Two heroes, Vensor Circlemark and Terla the Cat, are in the personal retinue of Survilstar Dragonslayer, warlord of Carmania. The One-Tongues sought refuge here, having come all the way from Esrolia. [Glorantha: The Second Age]

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Copyright ©1998-2007 Andrew Behan and David Dunham. Art by Mike O’Connor. Last updated 24 Nov 07.

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