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Monday Mashup #24: Iowa Caucuses

In honor of the kickoff of the 2004 political season, today’s mashup will be based on the Iowa caucuses, which are exceedingly rich soil in which to plant a campaign seed. You’ve got the obvious basic storyline of selecting a leader in the middle of political intrigue. You’ve got the way the caucuses work; they’re not actually an election. You’ve got the current sitaution, in which the political outsider (Dean) surged against the consummate veteran (Gephardt) until at the very last minute the other veteran (Kerry) takes the unexpected lead — and the other young guy (Edwards) is surging as well. You’ve got Iowa, a state most people ignore except every four years. Fun stuff. Mashers, start your ethanol-fuelled engines!

I think HeroQuest would be pretty good for this; the rules for assistance and aid in HeroQuest seem perfect for political wonkery. I am not a Gloranthaphile, so there is every chance that I am munging up the details of Gloranthan life, but I am told that this is part of Glorantha’s charm. Here’s what I’d send out as a campaign prospectus.


The glorious Lunar Empire and Moonson, may his name be sung in the temples of the Empire for years beyond the counting of man, seek your aid. You, loyal citizen of the Empire, have been chosen. Surely your fellow citizens will feel envy that they have not been granted such an honor! Surely your name will be spoken with pride in your home city for many moons!

You will report to the capital city, no later than the final day of the next month. Do not dally on your voyage! Despite the influence of the Red Goddess, there are those foolish individuals who live lives of banditry in the Empire. Allocate time for encounters with the lawless. It would be unwise to arrive at the capital city too late, and Moonson prides himself on the wisdom of his citizens.

You will come directly to the temple of the Red Goddess, where you will receive the necessary supplies for the longer journey you are about to undertake. The Lunar Empire has but recently granted the wisdom of the Red Goddess to the formerly barbaric lands of Iethg, which lie some distance to the east. Although there has been some unrest in Iethg among those who do not recognize a fortunate occurrence when they experience one, the natives are for the most part very pleased. Representatives of the Lunar Empire in Iethg need not fear for their persons unless they fail to take rudimentary precautions. You will wish to travel with weaponry.

Every four years, the natives of Iethg congregate in the city of Thiegar. At this time, they select the Warthane of Iethg, who will occupy that post for the following four years. The precise method of their choosing is obscure and will seem strange to those who are safe in the embracing arms of the Red Goddess. You will wish to understand it completely and accurately.

The next such congregation will take place in six months. There are several candidates who are of no notice. There is a single candidate who has embraced the Lunar Empire and our ways and who wishes to assist Moonson in his further assimilation of Iethg. He is the barbarian Gellos, and it is your mission as granted by Moonson himself to ensure that he leaves Thiegar as the leader of his people. Needless to say, the Lunar Empire does not need his aid, but Moonson is merciful and wishes events in Iethg to be arranged in such a way as to minimize the damage done to his new subjects.


This is not a matter of volunteering. Thank you for your enthusiasm in this, your service to Moonson. May his wisdom encompass us all.


  1. Hmph. Rebuild hack isn’t working, but it’s not the hack’s fault. I’m moving to a new server soon…

  2. t.rev t.rev

    Speaking of conspiracies and disinformation, raise your hands everybody who thinks the DNC finally realized what they were doing wrong and hired some writers from the WWF?

  3. t.rev t.rev

    The only nitpick is that the Red Moon cycles once a week; the closest time unit to a month is a season, which is eight weeks long. (The Gloranthan year is 42 weeks long: five seasons, plus a two-week period called ‘sacred time’.) Oh, and it’s ‘Moonson’, as in son of the Moon. Don’t feel bad about that, I thought it was ‘Monsoon’ for about ten years. More importantly, you nailed the usual style of Imperial Greetings.

    To pull everything together, I now have a vision of the Warthane contest ending with a brutal yet magically and mythically complex wrestling tournament.

  4. Doh! I got “Moonson” right the first time, actually, and then braino’d. Plus lots of cut and paste. Well, I’ll fix that typo but I’ll leave the seasons alone. I was pretty sure months was wrong, too.

  5. If this were inside the older Empire, you could make it Houses fighting a Dart War. Back when I was helping write the never-released RQ4 for Avalon Hill, we had a huge campaign set in Bihky that was about just such a Dart War (which is a Lunar term for an inter-House assassination war). We got hired by a House taken down to almost nothing in a surprise attack and ended up putting them in charge when Moonson got irked at the problems in his backyard.

    He sent Jar-Eel the Razoress to solve the problems . . .

    Most fun I ever had in a campaign was here: we were all rune-level, and Illuminated (for those who know Gloranthan lore). I was a priest of Lhankor Mhy and Irripi Ontor (gotta love Illumination) with fun mind-spells. We masqueraded as Thanatari at one point, with our Trickster allowing his head to be separated from his body via magic to convince the bad guys that we were even meaner than they were.

    Sorry ’bout that; didn’t mean to waste your bandwidth. 🙂

  6. Max Max

    I really hate politics.

    I really hate politics. I didn

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