Dark Sun heresy

This sounds like something Oronis would do, actually. Which could be a nice twist since, in this case, his experiment would be pretty… Adverse to the normal people out there.

Ouch, that… Didn’t work out very well for a fail-safe. I like it, it somewhat explains what was going on in his head.

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Ouch, that… Didn’t work out very well for a fail-safe. I like it, it somewhat explains what was going on in his head.

On the contrary. Rajaat was exceedingly effective. His genetically altered subliminal consciousness was very loose in how to return the halflings to power. Only that the Rebirth/non-halflings races weren’t worthy inheritors of the world. This rest is history.

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I’m not really sure halflings appreciate his work, but then again, it doesn’t sound like anyone asked them :wink:

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Well, bear in mind the post-Rebirth halflings aren’t the Rhulisti of old, more the degenerate ancestors of those lifeshapers and benders.

Although Rajaat appeared to venerate all the halflings from the Rhul-thaun to cannibal jungle dwellers, any pre-Rebirth halflings would probably be horrified at how their species has lost its way.

It’s not a stretch to imagine any revived/returned Rhulisti would want a complete tabula rasa and start again with ‘pure’ halflings.

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My heresy is that nothing that came out after the initial Wanderers Journal is canon, especially the novels.

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Strict originalist spotted in the wild. I am sympathetic to this. That is why I proposed Mysteries of Athas. Usually discussions about canon is win-lose. Win-win is a possibility.

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Mind if I jump into this discussion? I’m in the same boat as @Crosswire: I don’t agree with anything that comes after the Wanderer’s Journal, and novels in particular. For most part, I stick to the original first material.

The problem is, it makes Athas somewhat stale. The SMs are sitting in their cities, hogging their resources and power. The politics is petty, with little impact on the world at large. The PCs can get involved in schemes between nobles, templars and merchants, but you can only do so much with that.

My question is: How could you shake Athas up if you exclude the novels and later lore? In particular, no Free Cities as they were presented. Also, let’s keep killing the SMs realistic. They are walking weapons of mass destruction, after all; if mere mortals could slay them, they would have done so a long time ago. How do you make things more interesting?

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Personally I have no issue with Kalak dying. A group of high level NPCs with a diverse set of classes, gladiator, gladiator, psionicist, preserver, templar armed with two rare artifacts. The heartwood spear and Ktandeo’s cane. Attacking him right at the moment of metamorphosis where he was using an experimental procedure to jump 9 stages at once. Seems like a sufficiently rare occurrence that killing him was possible. The only other SM death in my campaign was Borys. Although I hate the way he died. All the others are alive or functional after the prism pentad in my campaign. Abalach-re faked her death and returned to Raam to avoid potentially facing Rajaat. Andropinis projects himself from the black to his templars to keep directing his city. And Tec regenerated after the fight, woke up in the ruins of ur draxa. Then had to walk or ride his way back to his city. He wasn’t impressed with his “son” taking over at all.

Sacha and Wyan are still “alive” of sorts but damaged beyond the ability to affect Athas unless someone retrieves their heads.

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My biggest issue with killing Kalak is, it’s a lucky streak of unlikely coincidences. A group of high level NPCs happened to be together in one place - and cooperating. They happened to have two rare artefacts, one of which happened to be created by a halfling druid (elements know how). They happen to use at the exact moment when Kalak was most vulnerable. It’s a Hollywood movie scenario, in terms of both epicness and plausibility.

Most of all, I always felt it relied too much on Kalak making stereotypical Hollywood villain mistakes. The intrigue to assassinate him was really thin-veiled, yet he failed to do anything constructive about it. His action pretty much boiled down to killing his minions - with notable exception of one that was scheming against him - then sitting on his thumbs. That’s not something I expect out of super-powerful sorcerer who has been ruling a totalitarian state for over a millennium.

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Since we don’t know how living as a still kill-able mortal for a thousand years affects one (unless you want to use the Bible as a source, in which case it apparently doesn’t affect one very much overall other than the truly large family that will result thereby, lol) and we also don’t know what mental affects the transformations have (apparently a lot based on what I’ve read from everyone’s comments) it’s hard to say just what a SK would or would not do.

Did that particular SK feel like the danger gave spice to life, and thus let it proceed? Did they want to experience death, or did they believe that it wouldn’t really kill them? Who knows?

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The way I look at it is based partially on what Sacha and Wyan said about Kalak. How.they had carefully conserved resources for a millennium only to have Kalak squander it all in a few short decades. So I get the impression at the end he ignored a lot of things out of impatience. It’s like he wanted to sprint past the finish line and tripped.

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If you go with how it is described in the initial Journal then it doesn’t get stale, as it is implied the SKs are long lived but not immortal. That they can and have died and new ones can rise up. And that there are other cities out there, both north and south of the Tyr region.

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Ah, I think we meant something different by ‘everything past the Wanderer’s Journal’. To me, the WJ the last point of Athas history. I don’t mind the expanded lore, but none of the events from the metaplot and the novels happen in my games.

The idea of SMs as mortals who come and go is compelling, but it’d require a lot of fleshing out. We’d have to homebrew how it works, how do you become one, how much (approximate) power do they have, how does the transition of (political) power work, etc. How did you do that in your games, if you don’t mind me asking?

@nijineko Don’t get me wrong, as a Ravenloft fan I’m all over SM hubris :wink: I just find the way Kalak was portrayed pretty uncompelling. It’s one thing to give a villain convincing flaws that lead to his downfall, and another to give him convenient flaws that give the heroes the upper hand.

That’s a fair point, though it brings back the argument whether Sacha and Wyan ruled Tyr using Kalak as a proxy. I believe some people are not very fond of the idea.

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I certainly hate that idea. In my view Kalak was every bit the sorcerer king as any other. I think he just got saddled with keeping Sacha and Wyan prisoner. Of course those two would lie and claim the city was theirs. From all the interactions with them they are proven liars and manipulators. If it was they who supplied the templarate with their spells it would serve them no purpose to deny Tithian that ability. On fact it actively weakened his position as king and prevented them from achieving some of their goals.

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Sacha and Wyan had plenty of motive to deny Tithian. I think that Kalak was a full Sorcerer Monarch, but I believe that Sacha and Wyan could have supplied spells to Tithian’s templars if they desired. Tithian would have been a lot less motivated to find the Dark Lens if they did, so they didn’t.

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While I agree they had plenty of reason not to give Tithian (and the other Templars) access to spells, I followed through with Sacha and Wyan betraying the other Champions, Sacha before the fight, Wyan after, but both were linked to Vortexes, everyone inside the Tower was linked by virtue of assisting in finishing Borys’s transformation. In order to grant spells, the templars required a focus for every spell and the key component of every focus was a drop of blood. Sacha and Wyan as just heads, were unable to cause themselves to bleed and so could not create the focus on their own. Kalak did it for them and pretended they were from him.

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I respectfully disagree, immortality would have been their motivation. Tithian was already a middle aged man, in athasian terms, providing his templars with spells would have secured his control over the city. This would have freed him up to ponder his impending demise. At that point he still would have pursued the path to being a sorcerer king. Nothing changes other than having a much more secure base to start from. Perhaps a little more time would pass before Tithian would go only making him a more practiced Defiler. A stronger and more capable tool for Sacha and Wyan.

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Arguably, Borys could have made Tithian immortal even if he could not make Tithian into a Sorcerer King. Being immortal AND able to grant spells to templars (via proxies Sacha and Wyan) is about 90% of what it means to be a Sorcerer Monarch. Its highly unlikely that Tithian would have taken further risk by trying to free Rajaat.

At @redking 's prompting I link this Dark Sun heresy here: no preservers or defilers before us

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True Borys could have made Tithian Immortal the question is why? From the 13th champions perspective we have a mortal upstart. Craven, cowardly, weak. The kind of man who lets the slaves of his city dictate policy. One who can’t control his nobles. One for who the gift of immortality would be utterly wasted. I don’t think Borys had much of a conversation with Tithian other than to warn him to keep the slave levies coming. It makes more sense from Borys’ point of view to just wait until things settle down in Tyr and a strong dictator emerges. It might take a few decades but once someone strong enough takes over then you bring this new monarch into the fold.

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