Beast runeEast Wilds Hsunchen

by: Dag Olausson, Jonas Schiött and Sten Åhrman.

The East Wilds harbour nearly a dozen different hsunchen peoples. A few of the tribes -- such as the Galanini -- are large and powerful, but most are quite small -- like the Beaver and Otter hsunchen. Before Time the hsunchen dominated all of Ralios, but during the period just before and after the Dawn most were converted to a theistic world-view, religion and culture. There are still some physical differences between Orlanthi from different regions of the Wilds; a result of their descent from hsunchen of different tribes. But this common background is not something most people are conscious of; only those who have studied the old legends with a critical eye have an idea of the true story. Their common origins have also resulted in better relations between the two cultures than elsewhere; the Orlanthi have some understanding of their primitive cousins' worldview. So unlike many other places where remnants of these primitive peoples survive, the hsunchen of the East Wilds live in mostly peaceful co-existence with the more advanced culture that has supplanted them.

The hsunchen fill in the cracks between various Orlanthi territories, dwelling on land that is claimed by no Orlanthi clan (or disputed between several). Those hsunchen clans who lead a nomadic lifestyle are of course only present on their 'home' lands during the winter seasons, and a few camp somewhere new each year. Some nomadic hsunchen have settled down into a regular pattern, travelling similar routes each year; these are always on friendly terms with the Orlanthi they habitually visit, bringing news and trade to otherwise isolated clans. The non-nomadic hsunchen are less often encountered by outsiders; their abodes are well off the beaten paths, and there is normally no reason for Orlanthi to seek them out.

Most hsunchen are seen as curiosities or nuisances by the Orlanthi. The exceptions are Galanini and Telmori, the former because they are still numerous enough to be a potential threat, the later because their aggressiveness makes them an actual threat.


To a scholar interested in exact distinctions, the Galanini are not really hsunchen anymore, having abandoned their old religion long ago. But to their practically inclined neighbours this makes no difference -- they're still one of the "animal peoples".

The Horse People are a nomadic breed, constantly on the move during the verdant seasons, and only settling down in one place during dark and storm seasons. For most clans, Vustria is used as a base of operations, sending parties of scouts and hunters all over Ralios. In the rest of the Wilds, some clans can be found travelling in whole herds. Their primary locales in Delela and Saug are Laughing Horse Plain, Thunder Veldt and Goldlook Forest (the later is where most of them make their winter camps), but it is not at all unusual to find Galanini raiding or trading anywhere in the East Wilds. They usually avoid raiding the Orlanthi living near their 'home' areas. Contact with the western civilizations, on the other hand, is seldom very cordial.

Galanini culture seems very contradictory to outsiders -- they live in a mixture of highly formalized solar hierarchies and primitive hsunchen anarchy. The leader of the tribe is referred to as the Tsar; he and most of the other men worship Ehilm the Sun, while the women mainly revere a horse deity they call Galanin. Outsiders believe Galanin is identical with Hippoi, and whatever the truth of this it seems clear that worship is not conducted according to the shamanistic Hykim/Mikyh pattern.

The Galanini's level of technology is similarly mixed: while they lack most tools and implements, things not needed in their hunting and gathering society, they are probably the finest goldsmiths in all of Glorantha. Their arms, armour and other items are of the utmost quality and artistry (though only available to a select few). They prefer gold over all other metals, and will want to acquire any they come across -- by peaceful means if possible. Their primary source of new metal is a few secret and strongly guarded groves deep inside the Goldlook Forest, where the leaves actually are made of real gold.

Orlanthi lifestyle is in at least one respect heavily influenced by the Galanini: the use of horses. The Galanini still feel a deep kinship with their steeds, and it is clearly stated in their law that only a horse-brother or sister is capable of sitting on a horse's back without insult to Galanin. The Orlanthi have for many generations considered it prudent not to anger them by riding horses, partly because they are still a military force to be reckoned with, but mostly because of an ingrained respect for these ancient allies. Fortunately, Galanini have adopted enough of the Solar rigidity to follow the exact letter of the law (and to not consider changing it), leaving the option of hitching horses to ploughs, wagons or chariots open. The horses used by Orlanthi are in fact closer to the original Ralios pony -- Galanini have over the centuries interbred their stock with horses captured in raids on other nations, resulting in a faster and somewhat larger breed.


The two varieties of Telmori, "pure" and "cursed", both exist in Ralios. In Telmoria, the wolf peoples' ancestral home, the overwhelming majority are Pure Ones, descended from those who refused to obey Nysalor. Unfortunately, Orlanthi in the Wilds get their picture of Telmori from the packs of Cursed Ones that roam Vustria, making forays into Delela as well as Naskorion and Otkorion. This is especially unfortunate for the Pure Ones who, ranging far afield during the summer seasons, are mistaken for their tainted cousins.

To Delelans, Telmori are werewolves, chaotic and evil monsters. People in Saug and Keanos regard them more as legendary beings, the basis of horrifying tales told around the campfire.


The most common hsunchen are the Damali, deer people, who dwell throughout Delela and in northern Saug. The moose tribe (Aleci) is found in west Delela, mainly in the area of the Delaman tribe. Udari, otter hsunchen, are rare but can still be found along some tributaries to the Doskior in east Delela. The Falani (beaver) tribe dwells in the minor rivers of Saug. Raccoon hsunchen (Lotari) are limited to northeastern Saug, but are relatively common there.

On the fringes of the Wilds there are a few other hsunchen types. In the Mislari mountains and their foothills thrives the mountain goat tribe (Caroni). The red owl people (Flari) are believed by everyone to be extinct, but in fact still lead a precarious life deep in the heart of Corolaland.

See also Jonas's web page

Last updated 11 Oct 98

David Dunham Page East Ralios