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Dark Mystara Part II: The Empires

by Giampaolo Agosta

This part of the "Dark Mystara" variant timeline for the post-Wrath of the Immortals years outlines the events that would take place in the eastern Known World and in Alphatia, and describes the political landscape after the Sinking of Alphatia.

One issue needs to be addressed when discussing the effects of the Wrath of the Immortals war on the major Empires of the Known World: what were doing the "other" Immortals during the Wrath?

"Other" Immortals are those barely mentioned in the Wrath of the Immortals campaign, which involves only a few of these powerful beings.

The Council of Balance

This Council was formed secretly by Terra, Noumena, Razud, Ordana, and Nyx. These five Hierarchs, concerned by the actions of their fellows, banded together to prevent the worst effects of the impending War.

Each but Terra had a direct interest in preserving the mortal nations involved in the conflict: Ordana is a patron of the elves; Razud's only following is among the Alphatians; and Nyx has lots of Nosferatu and Vampire followers in Alphatia and in the Known World, who would be armed by the Radiance's magic drain or the Eternal Sun of the Hollow World; Noumena has most of his followers in Alphatia and Thothia.

When the Doomsday Weapon was activated, the Council of Balance, which had been monitoring Rad's and Ixion's actions through various Immortal pawns, was ready to act, with Ordana managing timestops in various areas of Alphatia, and the other four members sending in hosts of Celestials to recover as many Alphatians, monsters, animals, and plants, as possible.

They gated everything to the Border Ethereal or to the Immortals' realms in the Outer Planes. Then, they put all of the creatures in suspended animation--just powerful sleep spells, actually.

When Alphatia and Ixion asked the other Immortal to help them recreate Alphatia in the Hollow World, they just had to get out all that people, open a gate from the elemental plane of Air to one of the Floating Continents, then move everything to that plane, erase some of their memories--Stygian water graciously provided by Nyx, and implant new memories, involving Alphatia being destroyed by a new Rain of Fire, while the Grand Council was destroyed in the attempt to save the planet.

A New Alphatia in the Hollow World

In the Hollow World, the surviving Alphatians are forced to build their world anew. There are fewer wizards and priests of high level, now, since the Grand Council members and many lower level wizards were either killed or stranded on the surface--if you go by the "low level Alphatia" option, there are no more than a few handful of wizards able to cast 6th level spells.

This is a major hindrance to the rebuilding. When they will recover, Alphatians will find that many of their spells are now useless, and that training more wizards is much more difficult. The Spell of Preservation allows Alphatians with Int scores lower than 16 to cast wizard spells, but only as 0-level spellcasters. In a generation or two, the Alphatian wizard population will be reduced by 80%, even though the spellcasting population doesn't decrease, thank to the Spell of Preservation.

Skyships will be much less useful in the Hollow World, most of them being unable to leave the air bubble around the continent.

Finally, the Alphatian Mainland population is now only 1/5 of the former one, around 870.000 units. Many of the Alphatian kings survive, and reform their kingdoms on the floating continent.

Eldrethila is the new Empress, but she is not strong enough to keep the empire together, and at least Shiye-Lawr and Blackheart become independent. Frisland, Greenspur, Limn, and Stoutfellow are likely to follow suit, or at least to assume a neutral stance.

For the next years, Eldrethila will be busy trying to rebuild the Grand Council and bring back the independantist kingdoms into the Empire.

The New Alphatian Empire

On the Outer World, Zandor rebuilds the Alphatian Empire with the Bellissarian Kingdoms, Aquas, and a few other territories, like the Yanniveys. Ericall of Alpha, too weak to survive alone, joins the N.A.E. as well.

On the other hand, Qirklin of Floating Ar, Baron Norlan, King Koryn of Ne'er-do-well, and Eruul Zaar are either too far, too powerful, or too near Thyatis to fall under Zandor's control.

The N.A.E has a total population of less than 700.000 individuals, and Zandor's main goal is to strengthen his grip on the Empire. As in the canon timeline, he forces many rulers to abdicate, and begins a policy of reducing the Kings' and Queens' powers.

With the Grand Council destroyed by the loss of magic, and the mainland wizards gone, there are few wizards, mostly military wizards who were stationed in the Isle of Dawn or in Bellissaria when the Doomsday Weapon was activated, and Zandor's own paranoia brings him to give more power to the non-spellcasting members of his military staff--they begin to assume a role much like that of eunuchs in various ancient RW empires.

The other nations

Finally, the Pharaoh of Thothia doesn't join the new empire, bringing along the city-states of Ekto and Trikelios. The Kingdom of Thothia includes 180.000 Thothians and Alphatians. Zandor will not be able to bring Thothia to submission any soon, and the Thothian Pharaoh concentrates on dealing with the Thyatian threat, securing the borders of his kingdom.

Floating Ar remains independent, thanks to its mobility and magic. Qirklin and his advisers move the floating islands over the Yanniveys, and start adapting their Skyships to military uses.

Qeodhar remains unaffected by the events: it is just too far and irrelevant for Zandor to care to conquer it, and Norlan directs his efforts in rivalling with Ostland's pirates in plundering Norwold's coasts.

Koryn the Harpist and Eruul Zaar fall under the shadow of the recovering Thyatian Empire. The Thyatians, however, will not be able to significantly threaten Thothia, and are too far from the New Alphatian Empire to have any deal with it. On the other hand, Thyatis and the Heldannic Knights are quick to come to blows, competing for control of northern Isle of Dawn and the southern regions of Norwold.