I know that a lot of people here either love, hate or love and hate the Prism Pentad, but how about we treat it as a ‘what if’ scenario instead of canon? 4E took that approach, but made the overthrow of Kalak a given. We should dial it back a bit.
There are 7 ‘mainstream’ city states (I am not including Ur-Draxa, Kurn, or Eldaarich), any of which could become the ‘Free City’. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Tyr. There are many potential examples of SK overthrow scenarios.
Nibenay is moving forward with his metamorphosis, and ends up going berserk. He is killed while rampaging through his city.
Abalach-Re mints too many ceramic coins and fails to back them with real wealth, making Raamin ceramics almost worthless. As a distraction, Abalach-Re takes one of her elderly but powerful Templars and uses metamorphosis magic into giving the Templar the appearance of the 4 armed ‘diety’ Badna, and also uses mind bending to make the Templar think that he really is Badna descended from the heavens. Abalach-Re then uses magic to simulate the impact of a meteor hitting the earth, from which ‘Badna’ emerges to lead his people. Unfortunately for Abalach-Re, ‘Badna’ takes his job as deity seriously and ends up enlisting the PCs to help kill his ‘Grand Vizier’.
The Oba attempts to become the forest goddess in fact, not just in name. The Oba attempts to subsume a spirit of the land, but the result is more of a holistic joining. The Oba becomes the spirit of the land of all of Gulg, and even appears to protect Gulg against enemy attackers. But otherwise the Oba is gone, much of her personality gone with the merging with the spirit of the land. Unlike in the other scenarios, Templars still get spells from the Oba, they just don’t get any orders. In Gulg anyone that prays to the forest goddess could receive spells (if they otherwise qualify) even if they are not a member of the templarate.
King Andropinus faces an election. The giants from the islands from the islands on the Sea of Silt were offended by Balic for some reason, and went on a rampage on the Balican peninsula. King Andropinus, according to bard’s tales told in markets and taverns, remained in his palace like a coward rather than face the giants (in fact Andropinus was urgently called away by Borys the Dragon, who sensed Rajaat attempting to make an escape). After this there is much discontent, and while the templars are accusing and arresting many for sedition, an news of an interesting, ancient edict by Andropinus circulates among the people. This edict states that for the purposes of the law, a ‘lifetime’ shall be no more than 77 years, for monies to be awarded from the state, pensions, positions, and so on. Andropinous himself has held his ‘lifetime’ position for well over 1000 years. With all the dissatisfaction he is forced to run for election as king once more. What Andropinus doesn’t know is that much of this dissatisfaction is the magical and psionic influence of Korgunard, the avangion. The election is a cover for an assassination plot, which Korgunard intends to carry out himself (with the assistance of the PCs, of course).
King Tectuktitlay manages to lure the lonely and deranged Draskinor out of Eldaarich for the first time in 300 years on the false pretense of friendship. King Tectuktitlay believes that he has discovered a method by which he can drain the life-force of a fellow champion, and take it for his own. Unfortunately for King Tec, while Draskinor is mentally ill, he has grown significantly more powerful than King Tec over time. Instead of Tec killing Draskinor and draining him, Draskninor dispaches King Tectuktitlay and immediately returns to Eldaarich where his fear of a conspiracy reaches new heights.
The Obsidian Man of Urik returns at the head of a huge army of gith and belgoi, and even a nightmare beast. The Obsidian Man of Urik is different somehow, intelligent. While Hamanu obtains victory over the armies attacking Urik, he is killed while destroying the Obsidian Man.
The Freedom story line we all know.
That is just a bunch of stuff off the top of my head, meant to be simple examples of alternatives to give a campaign a fresh start (imagine the surprise of the players).