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Mixing Worlds II: Blackmoor's Hidden Historyby Scott Moore
In a previous article on Mixing Worlds, details were provided for using other d20 campaign settings to expand and enrich a Mystaran campaign. Included here is an example of the interesting possibilities you can get when you try to tie together the backgrounds and histories of several different RPGs and campaign settings into Mystaran mythology.
Metamorphosis Alpha (TSR/Fast Forward Entertainment)
According to the original Gamma World timeline, Starship Warden left Earth (2290 AD) around 160 years before the start of the Gamma World game (2450 AD, see "Dark Years" by James Ward and Roger Moore from the August 1984 issue of Dragon Magazine). If you plan on using Gamma World as a post-Rain of Fire Blackmoor, the launch of Warden may have been one of the last significant events in Blackmoor's history before the cataclysm. Warden could be stocked full of Blackmoor technological-era artifacts. The history of Blackmoor stored in its computer systems could be more complete than anything left back on Mystara after the cataclysm.
After passing through a wormhole, the Warden could go back in time, and be encountered by the crew of the exploration ship, Beagle. After docking and exploring the ship, they learn the history of Blackmoor and ancient Mystara from the ship's computers. The Beagle's captain decides to set off in search of the Warden's home world, not realising that he has encountered the ship millennia in the past from its creation. Thus, an encounter with the time-displaced Warden is what brought the Beagle to Mystara in the first place, introducing the technology to that world that would eventually be responsible for Warden's very creation.
Gamma World (TSR/Sword & Sorcery)
This post-apocalyptic setting actually fits well into a couple different eras of Mystara's history. It can be used as either a distant future setting, or as the basis for a post-Rain of Fire campaign. Ruins left over from sunken Alphatia, ancient Blackmoor, or the severely damaged Beagle could all make for interesting exploration sites.
According to the Gamma World timeline, scientist Osmond Coot founds Project Mindkeep in the year 2304 AD to research what is known as the "Alpha Factor": the key to creating beneficial genetic mutations in living creatures (see TSR's module GW6 (7509), Alpha Factor). What is not common knowledge is that Project Mindkeep is secretly funded by an organisation that has been waiting for this project to start for nearly two hundred years...
Deadlands/Hell On Earth/Lost Colony (Pinnacle Entertainment)
Back in the twenty-first century, Hellstromme Industries started development of the Tunnel, a space station that served as the gateway to an interstellar portal to the planet Banshee. The portal to Banshee, however, was not the first one that researchers from Hellstromme Industries happened to open. Punching a hole through time and space, the scientists at HI managed to open a portal to the Blackmoor era at nearly the exact moment of the Rain of Fire. An entity of some sort passed through the portal, escaping the destruction in the vicinity of Blackmoor, but becoming trapped in the 21st century instead. This entity was like nothing the scientists, or anyone at HI, had encountered before. Completely evil, but possessing an unearthly genius at the same time, the entity joined forces with HI, supplying them with a combination of the magic and the technology that went into creating such aberrations as the techno-mage mutes, as well as passing along knowledge of the planes and other things arcane to further their research.
The entity predicted, and rightfully so, that in two hundred years time, Osmond Coot would be close to discovering the key to creating selective mutations in creatures. Such research would be of great interest to HI down the road.
Two hundred years later, scientist Osmond "Egghead" Coot is looking for financial backing to fund his Project Mindkeep research. Hellstromme Industries immediately steps in to fund whatever Osmond needs. As Osmond continues to break new ground, his enthusiasm gets the better of him and he begins experimenting on himself, anxious for results, and frustrated by the delays in getting government approval to experiment on live humans. But something goes horribly wrong. Osmond's capacity for knowledge expands exponentially, allowing him to achieve a degree of brilliance unmatched in mankind's history, but at a terrible toll to his physical form and sanity. Osmond evolves physically into what can only be described as a monster. The mysterious entity, which came through the portal nearly two centuries before, offers the still mutating Osmond the opportunity to leave the world that would never accept him in his current state and escape through one of the portals HI has discovered. In accepting to do so, the entity assures him, he will be outfitted with all the knowledge and resources he needs to rule over men and be treated like a god. Osmond accepts, and leaves our world behind.
Osmond arrives in Blackmoor. With the resources at his disposal, Osmond becomes a conqueror, building legions of followers, and setting himself up as a king over men. Using his supreme genius and the ability to break the will of others, he becomes a merciless, brutal, and powerful ruler, feared by men, but respected by other monsters like himself.
Eventually Osmund comes to the realisation that the entity that escaped the Rain of Fire, worked with HI for two centuries, and was responsible for sending him here was his own future self.
The horrible monstrosity that now ruled the region north of Blackmoor with an iron fist was no longer scientist Osmond "Egghead" Coot. He was now the Egg of Coot.
Back in the future, a hundred and fifty years after putting into motion the very events that would lead to his creation, the Egg of Coot looks out upon a decimated world and thinks the time is right for him to rule over men and monsters again. With the remaining resources of what used to be Hellstromme Industries at his command, the Egg creates and funds a network of cryptic alliances, including the Ranks of the Fit, and sets out to become a conqueror of this Gamma World.