Mirrors below Waterdeep – Alternate Realities Continued

Twilight Zone Opening - Modo 801 - YouTube

The Mad Mage, he holds a key to various incarnations of reality, jumping from one image to the next. This portal gateway is unlike any other, as it explores different timelines and possibilities rather than other planes and worlds alone. Should you make your way beyond Halaster Blackcloak and his minions, you may unlock countless possibilities.

Who I am is not important.  I leave all public record and identity to my humble guide, another reality traveler.  The bipedal feline creature, known as Ramon DeLeon, has had experience with dark mirrors adjacent of reality on the Prime.  The one I gaze upon, a Toril shredded by seemingly unending violence, this one frightens me.  However, his words are reassuring.  What is disconcerting is that “few will remember him”, whatever that is supposed to mean.  But, when one has a reputation that precedes them, events can transpire almost any way. 

Author’s Note: A post about the Forgotten Realms itself? Impossible! And yet, here we are! Many of my earliest gaming days were spent in Abeir-Toril.  This post was meant to be made and posted a while ago, but yet that didn’t happen till now.  Well, here is an expansion on an old post detailing parallel universes. The Torilian one, torn by war, is actually the version of the Realms I’ve played with for over a decade. Also, behold the final piece to the Antorek plot thing… even though it’s actually the first thing that started this whole mess.  Literally.  This is where the character came from.  Is this the last of my looks at D&D realities?  Probably not, but perhaps this is another sign I hope to move away.  Anyway, Happy New Year, to arms and battle stations!  Likewise, stay tuned for my January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  I have a few more tricks up my sleeve!  Also, thank last year’s Twilight Zone marathon for inspiring the thick of this!

 

Of Worlds Forgotten, a Great War

What I have before you are chronicles and portals to various worlds like the one you know.  But, alas, much has changed.  Something within time has been twisted in favor of one outcome or another.  Either way, only so much of each world is recognizable.  Do not gaze too long, for you may be pulled in and will never come back.  It is possible that meddling in affairs that should not be have created these variant timelines.  It could be that these are all imperfect timelines that risk causing danger from their very existence.

1372 DR.  It began in the Sword Coast region and spread from there.  It took to the seas and took war with it.  Regimes, powers, society, the status quo, it matters not.  All are thrown out as violence grips whatever it can snare.  But, what would spark such unrelenting violence?  The planar bard, Ramon DeLeon, was happy to expand on his first journey.  Belligerents, Aggressors and more.  They met on the battlefield that was growing in Faerun and beyond.  But who were they?  What did they fight over?  Who came out stronger from the conflict and who was crushed?  Let us explore these matters and the happenings around Toril that also transpired.

The dawn of war came from the blood of Galgrick Pelquecsious, a recent but still influential Masked Lord of Waterdeep.  He is publicly assassinated by a former member of the Zhentarim, before truths about him are revealed to the public.  The assassin revered the (then-fallen) diety Bhaal, while Pelqecsius was secretly in league with the Church of Cyric.  Holy rage turned into political violence.  The Zhentarim are thrown into panic over the rash actions of the “traitor”.  Agents quickly track down and slay him, making knowledge of this public.  However, their image remains tainted for years.  Soon after, various powers and empires were getting dragged in, due to allies and enemies gaining a stake in the conflict.  The Battle of the Burning House is what turned the regional conflict into a wider one.  At a secret meeting house for Open Lords, several Masked Lords gathered as well in panic.  Information of this was leaked to a terror organization headed by a mixture of agents of the Dead Three, three displaced members of Sigil’s Revolutionary League and a mysterious cabal of politicians and nobles swearing aliases.  The attack was sudden, as mages pierced thresholds that protected the underground hideaway.  Many of the Dead Three cultists alone were secretly linked to political groups and alliances in other countries.  The small army charged through portals forced into the building, with the Lords cut off and immediately slaughtered.  This escalated with one side of the other bringing a mixture of smokepowder and fire magic, causing the basement layer to explode.  Fire spread through the South Ward, rapidly killing several impoverished citizens of the slums.

Baldur’s Gate, Amn and much of the Sword Coast becomes engaged due to activities related to the terrorists.  Bad blood between the lands bubbles into a battle royale of conflict.  Lines are drawn and calls to aid drag in more and more powers.  By 1373 DR, much of Faerun has been dragged into a chaotic and formless war.  Old vendettas, like those between Cormyr and Sembia, were reawakened.  No clear cut directive or vision is made, save for defeating all other enemies.  Campaigns make their ways across the water, as the Pirate Islands and even Lantan are forced to defend themselves.  The latter, now being infiltrated and enslaved by the Red Wizards, consider drastic actions for their own survival.  As for Thay, their role in the conflict is nothing short of massive.

Eventually, Rashemen attempting to defend several other powers in the west draws ire from Thay, who use their networks to play other powers against each other.  Likewise, the Red Wizards begin selling arms and magical sources to multiple sides while readying their own war machine.  Rashemen, facing invaders from west and deploying lodges to aid allies, is caught off guard by a mutual advancement of Zhents and Thayans.  A potential mutual enemy came to their aid in the form of Szass Tam, using the conflict to stage an insurrection.  Witches and berserkers fought alongside the undead in hopes of tearing the current Thay down.  Ultimately, the Thayan Loyalists sacrificed their Zhent allies to turn the tides and oust the Zulkir of Necromancy.  Burned by the betrayal, the Zhentarim turns their back on Thay, seeking to undo their damage in the war.  In the end, The Battle of Zulkir’s Lodge decides a loss for Rashemen, but their annexation is not complete till the end of the war.  Likewise, Westgate is nearly destroyed by a Thayan advance, after attempts to ward them off.  In the end, forces were beginning to unite against them, forcing the Red Wizards nation to unite themselves and reform, lest they be destroyed.

Even the North was not immune to the drums of war.  The savage Spine of the North saw bands of orcs seeking glory and conquest, the time to prove themselves.  Icewind Dale was quickly cut off from supply chains between allies.  Likewise the Cold Lands were starting to contend with their own problems caused by the encroaching conflict.  Initially neutral, they saw potential in using fiendish magic; testing the limits of its power to see how it would affect mass combat.  Initially, it proved successful in repelling outsiders.  However, ambitions turned to more risky maneuvers.  Eventually, a Waterdeep-aligned faction broke barriers and began to run through Narfell in an effort to quell them as well as stop their fell forces.  Hellriders of Elterul in particular had reason to stop the growing war power.  What resulted in the clash was not expected, a rift opened into the Grey Wastes of Hades.  The Blood War had no come to Toril, with blame upon a mysterious cult of arcane warriors called “Warlock Knights”.  The assault of fiends wasn’t the only calamity to plague the lands during the later years of the war.

The Great Torilian War oversaw other unspeakable horrors.  Tales from clerics say that Mystra fell to an attack by Cyric.  The former was forced to retreat and recover, while the latter was ultimately destroyed by a great power.  Cyric’s doom only brought the world misery, as his essence fueled a chaotic magic storm that has rampaged through the material.  Likewise, a cult dedicated to Malar unleashed a beastly plague in Tethyr, with it quickly spreading.  The nights likewise seemed to grow slowly longer as the undead grew more powerful.  The Dalelands found their own conflict in the Drow taking advantage of the war to assert dominance for the Underdark.  Even the barren Anauroch Desert carried its own horrors, as unhinged wanderers and vagrants kept proclaiming Netheril has returned.  Meanwhile, an island that suffered the might of Lantan’s secret weapons has birthed a malignant intelligence known as “The Glowing Entropy.”  In reality, this could merely be a manifestation of another villain called by some as “The Radiant Evil”.

The culmination of these tragedies caused the war against lands to slow down for the most part.  The Hellriders made their stand and claim to glory against the Fiend Rift, nature priests and druids helped to push back the Beast Scourge, forces of life and light were not about to let eternal night takeover, the Lantanese have attempted to repent their sins by fighting the Entropy, the overworld takes the fight against the Underdark and countless survivors of the war are ultimately put on trial for crimes against Toril as a whole.  But, as the war winded down in 1380, the masses understood that it would take decades for true stability.  Even as of DR 1422, the world is badly shaken and scars have not healed.  The world has changed, but some hope to move that change towards the better.  But, what of the tragedies and their lands?

 

The Rise of the Night

Kanchelsis is not a power associated with Toril.  But a mutual aid pact with Malar changed all of that.  The Rise of the Night became their big game, a proof of concept turned revolution for both the undead and the werebeast.

It is also here where the final piece of the Antorek puzzle comes into place, or perhaps the first piece.  As conflict broke out and hell came with it, a powerful draconic lord emerged to enact pure wrath.  Antorek was one of the legendary and mythic Prismatic dragons, formerly desiring a solitary and tranquil existence.  But, as growing conflict spread, the dragon’s desires were contorted in the growing clashes and campaigns.  The dragon’s views soured from discontent to their own desire to fight against civilization.  Antorek’s retaliation took it from the Dragon Eyrie and into the remote frontier beyond Tethyr, where he began a war.  At first the locals were mystified by the rare beast, fear took over as he laid siege to various towns, later cities, in an attempt to purge all life from them.  After countless villages were wiped off the map, the dragon crossed towards the edges of the nation.  It was here that Antorek witnessed the gift of Malar, the Beastlord.  A fallen Bhaalspawn named Illisarnm had fallen under Malar’s claws and sought to change the shifting beast curse into something so much more.  Initial experiments turned those in the bhaalspawn’s magical bursts into beastly abominations.  This fascinated the dragon, who desired to fight by the feral cleric’s side.  The villagers, changed by the Malarite, retained enough of their old self to revolt.  Shamans and druids from nearby joined alongside civilians and a party of adventurers to drive back the accursed monsters.  The Malarite stood her ground, as majority of the village was wiped out.  Antorek was lethally assaulted by a mixture of spell, weapon and natural prowess. 

Fearing death, the dragon retreated into the planes, only to end up in the Wyld Kingdom.  He wove an elaborate speech about preservation and revenge, but his real goals were omnicide of most sentient life.  As the creature gave out, the body was left behind as the soul was taken by the Dark Powers of The Mists.  His story ends there, but in Toril, a plague forms that turns man into man-beast.  While this was early in the war, its effects only grew to their worst state well after the death of the draconic companion.  The Bhaalspawn Witch continued to stew in her own pocket of dark nature, witchcraft and haunted ruins.  Her plans begun to take fruition as her patron rewarded her for a job well done.  However, another Bhaalspawn and allies were fated to meet.  From within her enchanted hut and into the accursed ritual grounds where the first Gift ceremony took place, the vile witch was defeated on 1380 DR.  In her death throes, she gave herself to her patron to spread her crafted blight far and wide.   Malar’s Gift continued to ravage Toril for years, converting those not treated in time.  Eventually, a loose banner of nature gods changed the gift to prevent it from infecting others.  Dark priests can still bind the warping power into prayers and spells though.  Those who were afflicted were new races, forced to live with their strange conditions. 

By 1400 DR, several Beast Kingdoms began to emerge from the wreckage of both war and a mad god’s affliction.  By 1422 DR, the new kingdoms and civilizations flourish amidst adversity.  Bear mages, while not true Red Wizards, became a symbol of pride for Thay.  From Shaar to Chult, The Cat Clans quickly grew in power and number.  Pack Queen Nalia built The Red Lupes as a sovereign state still loyal to Amn.  Sigil’s Cult of Pflarr and the cult of Anubis aid Mulhorandi Jackals.  The Cackling House of Souls brings an eerie mysticism to Zakhara, while also reforming countless gnolls.  The Hoovenhold, near Chessenta, shepherds many a hooved beast.  Deep colonies haunt the shores with aquatic races, being woe and weal to sailing crews.  Thieves guilds from Neverwinter to Baldur’s Gate feared the Baldur Rats.  Disgruntled Wyldfolk of Sigil find this changed Toril to be more generally hospitable in general.  More existed and built up as well.

Malar was only one part of a greater plan.  His mad reign would be nothing without Kanchelsis, the supreme patron of the vampire.  This abyssal power became interested in a proposal to unleash “endless forces of the night” upon Toril, allowing for a supremacy of darkness.  Part of this plan hedged on the success of Sharr, but they both continued onward after that experiment failed.  The plot for Kanchelsis was simple, flood the world with creeping darkness.  It would start with the end of harvest season and continue, until the eternal darkness was ever present.  And from there, the dead rule the night… with the help of some slobbering beasts.  In the end, Malar was merely a pawn, a player in the plan… all while supplying plenty of muscle and body walls as backup.  In the eyes of the Vampire Overlord, the undead rank above some night beast.  For the vampire, the werebeast is something to control.  In time, Kanchelsis would consider turning them into ghoulified undead pawns as well, at least once Malar was safely out of the picture.  However, Malar’s plans backfired far too soon, causing the Vampire Lord to panic and abandon this arm of his plot.  But what of the ways of the dead and their campaigns?

If Shar had succeeded, the next step was thus; overwhelm Selune with the tainted weave and help purge the morning from the lands.  Perhaps from there, trap or deeply weaken Lathander and set up a proxy to mimic his duties poorly.  Should have happened, The Encroaching Moon would have overtaken the day itself and night would rule forever.  Thankfully, this had failed.  And as such, the Vampire Overlord was forced to make new plans.  Tactics to be planned during the day, putting them to the test at the night.  Villages fell, as cities were raided and rampaged through.  Flesh crafting necromancers in reverence to the Overlord were inspired to make Necrotic Colossi, gigantic undead abominations.  Lumbering siege engines, they proved capable of tearing barriers and smashing buildings with ease.  Temples full of clerics proved feeble beneath their many massive fists.  Infantry of more typical creatures poured in, after the gaping wounds were created.  In the end, The Light was not extinguished and Lathander’s trap proved far less powerful than the Overlord has planned.  And so, light fought back.  But, what of lands victimized by these unrelenting undead?

Ulgoth’s Beard was another victim to early campaigns of the dead.  An old lighthouse had long since been defunct, only to become a hidden hive for vampires to prey upon priests seeking to reestablish it.  With enhanced strength of their patron, the priests became less and less of a threat in the region.  In time, assistance was sent from Baldur’s Gate and nearby territories to quell the threat as holy legions stormed the area and wiped out whatever undead spawn were built up in the area to defend with.  Unfortunately, much of Ulgoth’s Beard was destroyed in the conflict.  Over the years, it has attempted to rebuild into something once more.  The Vampires of Waterdeep had proved far less violent and reactionary in previous eras.  However, empowered and manipulated by Kanchelsis, they grew brash and audacious.  The majority took to more clever hunting tactics, leaving little trace and few the wiser.  However, a few more outwardly predatory vampires preferred a more direct approach.  They wanted the lands to see their faces and know that it was them that ripped many throats and drank blood.  Because of the few more frenzied vampires, hunters began to descend in droves.  While traps and careful plotting killed most of them, the vampires ultimately suffered heavy casualties of their own.  Many clans outright relinquished a grab over the city.  While the traitors under Szass Tam’s banner followed various powers of Undeath, the unholy crusade built by the Overlord appealed to many.  Even Szass Tam himself saw the vampiric deity’s potential for his forces.  As Kanchelsis began to falter with his Rise of the Night campaign failing, the insurgent faction ultimately dropped him.  By 1422 DR, his influence has once again become minimal.

 

Tides of Chaos

Another divine blight comes at the hands of the Dead Three, but especially Cyric.  Cyric the Mad God had aspirations alongside Shar to take the Weave for themselves.  The plan was simple, to annihilate Mystra by any means possible and to consume her power.  The plan did almost prove successful, except Mystra was prepared for Shar.  Cyric?  Not as much.  While Mystra was badly damaged, she was forced to slink back as Cyric chose to claim his prize early.  The Weave proved empowering and incredible.  For a brief moment, Cyric felt what it was like to harness all magic.  This minute of corruption harmed Mystra further, dragging her away from the forces of good.  However, Cyric could not handle what was bestowed upon him as he exploded in an incredible arcane display.  But, he did not die, but rather endured something worse for all.  Part of the weave fused with his ruined essence.  The result was a somewhat self aware cloud of magical energy that could form into storms within the Prime. 

These Chaos Storms were wild, deadly and originally numerous.  Their effects could change all magical effects, bring about dead zones and change spells into their worst forms.  And worst of all?  The Chaos Storm showed up at random and lasted for equally random duration. The effects were limitless, with all means of the impossible made capable through these blights upon the art.  Monsters can emerge, spells could backfire spectacularly, whole builds can vanish in an instant, the lines between reality and illusion could blur in terrifying ways, life and death muddle in grim mockery of each other, some spells end up turning into other spells.  Whenever a storm incursion occurs, mass panic arises.  Mages either go into quarantine, witness a calamity or find themselves ganged up on.  Everyone else must contend with some means of absolute horror.  To list all instances alone would take months, as there is no logic or reason behind the effects.

Spellcasters were panicked, wondering if they’d face doom upon attempting to practice their art.  Magic-users as a whole were seen in a new light, as many societies turned against the very mystical arts they were once enthralled by.  Even societies that worshiped The Art of the Weave began having second thoughts.  As the storms became less numerous over decades, magic-users once again began to find their own once more.  In fact, techniques were developed to help push back the storms.  Even after decades, aggressive reaction to magic hasn’t died down that much.  Many places, such as Athkatla in Amn, maintain a strict and tight leash upon any such spell craft.  Elturel, meanwhile, has mostly banned magic save for licensed practitioners endorsed by the churches.  The initial ban was in 1380 DR, but has gradually relaxed such a policy over time.  Some cities, such as Baldur’s Gate, merely require magic users to register themselves in case of emergency or “specific events”.  General reactions to magic users are something altogether different.  Many cases involving murder have been dropped upon realizing that an attacked magic user tried to fight back.

As for these waves of magical madness, they were very much still Cyric.  More specifically, they were a diluted essence of him, with very little of actual thought left.  The purpose of the cloudy formations was simple, spread chaos and corrupt magic.  They remained at their strongest until a few years after the war concluded, as various united factions turned their attention to this greater threat.  Even bitter enemies like the mages of Halruaa and the Red Wizards of Thay have found common ground against this threat.  Likewise, former Cyricists and disillusioned cultists have lent their hands to ensure that this madness can cease.  It’s only those devoted to entropy, those warped by Cyric’s last influence and other forces of the wicked that want the Chaos Storms to rampage the lands.  The blessed lands united to aid Elturel had lead to the formation of the Holy Nation of Eltergard.  Their efforts are not understated, for their growing membership did the crux of the effort.  As years have passed and the storms became less frequent, their order still flaunts this to a world that is tired of owing the clerics.  Some fear that the newly consecrated realm may become too prideful and desiring in tribute.  Those within the various united churches work feverishly to keep that from happening.

The storms even had their effects on other spiritual matters.  For Clerics of Cyric, corruption was absolute unless they quickly repented and had forsaken their god.  Some fell into mental horror or became monsters from the cosmic curse.  Those lucky enough either joined causes to combat the terror or were killed for prior connection to Cyric.  Beast Spirits found within Rashemen, Dambrath and Kozakura were sent into a frenzy due to the strange energies, lashing out against others at random.  Many residents of those lands grew in fear of leaving their homes.  Those harmed were ultimately marked in something useful to Malar later.  Genie corrupted undead, Great Ghuls, became a threat of Zakharan priests along numerous coastlines alone, well into the desert lands beyond.  The cursed creatures drew power and sustenance from the Cyric vestiges.  One cult of ghuls saw to it that their leader would ascend through the Chaos Storms.  They have gone silent after action was taken.  The storms unleashed an extreme side from Gond Wonderbringer, who declared that most magic was evil and for his priesthood to mount defenses against a tainted world.  This focus on arms production made them targets for pirates, at first.  Increased strength destroyed many of these pirates later, but their impact was already done.  In fact, firearms distribution has massively increased thanks to said pirates.  Decades later, Mystra still needs to recover.  At some point, she hopes to reclaim a goodly perspective on magic, but cannot do so right now.  The reaction from clergy ranges from cynical to sorrowful.

 

Scarred Nations, New Empires

Out of all nations, Thay has come out among the strongest amidst the conflict.  Rashemen has been further subjugated once more, in part from the promise of greater protection.  The Rashemi have become a heavily oppressed people in short timing, lesser citizens in their own land.  And across lands, oppressed into the roles of slaves.  The Thayan colonists have wasted no time establishing bases and means of keeping the natives weakened.  Numerous lodges have been destroyed, with their lands razed.  Several witches have met either spell or blade.  Many of their killers were Thayan women who savored the thought of defeating a “lesser” equivalent. Witches seeking aid find comfort in a new patron, The Hag Countess.  The Infernal cult thus spreads its grasp.  Meanwhile, civilian and berserker lodge alike were subjugated as Thay saw fit; defense, agriculture, construction and more.  Some less fit subjects were made for more menial and often degrading work.  The far less lucky became the subjects of inhumane experiments.  They aren’t alone.  Several markets across the globe are saturated and all but overtaken by the Red Wizards.  This effort has slowly ensured that essential supplies are within their grasp.  What could have started as plans for global domination has evolved into something of colonization through the marketplace.

Within Thay, larger conflict still stirred.  Early in the war, they betrayed the Zhents to ensure their own security.  This did not sit well with the organization, who fired back from Westgate and beyond while Thay was dealing with Rashemen and other conflict.   Szass Tam attempted to turn traitor and stage a coupe against the nation.  Due to much inside information, this backfired and the great lich was exiled to plot revenge.  Likewise, many secret Renegade faction supporters do all in their power to thwart the new Zulkir of Necromancy… ironically a prior Zulkir.  Another incident comes in the form of a colony near Lantan.  Towards the end of the war, they made it clear that they were encroaching on the holy land of Gond.  The artificers and priests responded in kind, with a vile decision that would mar their reputation for years to come, using a super-weapon to wipe out the colony entirely.  This only furthered movement to invade and enslave countless Lantanese.  This helped advance the Thayan Bombards into a new weapon, the Crystal Gonne or a handheld weapon akin to the Lantanese Firebrand.  The fierce weapon uses a magical crystal to emit a deadly energy beam, it is entrusted with loyal Thayan Knights.  While their knights are still second class citizens within Thay, they have become an even deadlier fighting force when dealing with matters abroad.  Their exclusive magical gear makes them quite formidable, especially in border skirmishes.  And given enchantments on the gear, those who covet it are unlikely to use it for their own ends.  Politics within Thay has returned towards its iconic paranoia.  While the war united Thay as a singular force, the rebuilding time that followed has helped to dig up old feelings of distrust matched with Thayan egotism.  Despite the various schools collaborating with each other, and wizards actively serving in the defense of the nation, many have covertly foiled plots, traded in favors and played games of intrigue to still get ahead.  While overt vandalism and outright murder are punished harshly, more petty acts are handwaved within this new Thay.  New movements to ban churches have sparked some controversy at home, but have caused extremely wrathful resistance not seen since the war.  Rashemen has become invigorated in the fight against the colonists thanks to the stronger anti-religious action.

As for Lantan, they are a cruel shadow of their former self.  For much of the great war, they remained neutral and sold experimental weapons to test their functionality.  In time, their role was recognized by other nations who began to take aim.  This forced Lantan to back into a frantic corner before unleashing their wonders upon a world not readied.  The trauma and devastation continues to mark the lands they targeted, whether through drastic changes to the geography or the monsters that spawned from their attacks.  Worst of all, the general consensus within Lantan does no regret these crimes against existence.  It’s quite possible that neither does Gond.  Rather, they just rebuild among their own and are less likely to trade with a wider world that lost their trust in them (for good reason).  Some have spoken up, requesting that aid be given to those affected by the heinous crimes of the Lantanese.  These voices are decried now, but some see merit to reestablish world diplomacy.  The vast population is still stunned of the atrocities committed in the name of land and deity, unable to fathom how events lead to such.  They are well aware that the world does not trust them, much like how they began to distrust arcane magic.  This distrust was only magnified by the accidental creation of an evil radiant being.  The deadly entity, known as “Glowing Entropy”, has a single minded agenda of consuming all in its deadly radiation.  Many of the Lantanna wish to be repentant over the sins inflicted upon the greater world, but the higher state and church will not condone such behavior.  In the mind of the authority, the world was punished for pushing the land too far.  Only time will tell if Lantan scales back the militarization, in favor of something that once was.  Given the radioactive entity that has been unleashed, it might be needed for now.

The Confederacy of the Cold States only came about by a tragic accident.  For Vaasa, victory could have been met with the right magical incantation.  But, with a history of fiendish mishaps, cataclysm was likely inevitable.  In their case, a dimensional rift opening up from The Grey Wastes, the Battlefield of The Blood War!  Evil legions of Law, Chaos and Neutrality declared Toril a new place to both fight upon and conquer.  While the rift was open just briefly, it was long enough for horrid fiends to rush into the prime and do massive damage.  Huge gash-like scars in the earth were caused by the incursion, something known now as The Blood Wound.  The very soil around the ground zero has become tainted by pure evil.  Villages lie abandoned as dark souls and furious ghosts torment the ruins.  Some geographical features haven’t just been scarred, but lightly distorted to fit the grim planes below.  It is said that fonts of evil energy pulsate here and only the mad would deal in it.  The Fiend Rift was forged from pretense of power, only to remain something of a grim scar.  In theory, someone could reopen the gateway again.  However, the aligned confederacy will happily step in to prevent further damage.  Even the Warlock Knight cult has deep second thoughts about letting the rift open up again.  The Fiend Rift is a point of contention and constant threats, mostly against those who would consider it.  With the eyes of the world on the Cold Lands, few dare misstep, lest an onslaught of holy wrath destroy everything around them.  None of the terms used above are utilized by the populace, who refer to the matter as the “Narfell Incident”, in order for other members of this union to distance themselves from the matter.  Residents of Narfell, however, do not enjoy insinuations that come from this.  The collected states remain out of convenience, but the alliance cannot last.  Signs of division have began to rear their ugly heads in the first decade after the war.  Many fear a civil war may approach before the territories fracture to something even smaller than they were before the rift was opened.

Whether through some fold in reality or just some shifting of earth itself, new lands have emerged and new regimes with them.  Well to the west of Nelanther is a small chain of islands overseen by strange mages.  The Republic Arcane is what their esoteric order and land is called.  Those who are aware of them consider them disturbingly idealistic and thankfully detached from mainline Faerun.  They seek to recover the Weave at an accelerated pace.  Their own connections to the arcane arts has, in the views of outsiders, driven most of them mad.  While they view that magic should belong to all, their views of the world beyond ranges from the eccentric to the perplexing.  Rigid isolation, unrealistic viewpoints and irresponsible use of the mystical points them as a viable threat in the future.  Likewise, some folded space has brought the land of Laerakond not far from Anchorome.  A sailing vessel sponsored by the Church of Helm encountered the strange small continent, which seemed to appear out of nowhere.  Mages and priests assume that a particularly potent Chaos Storm brought the land over, but other speculate other theories like it being a demiplane that collided with the material or it always being there somehow.  Regardless, a new land mass carries its own populations and stories.  Many of the societies within the land are perhaps a century old, to the complete confusion of the new arrivals.  They bring tales of powerful Dragon Lords that allegedly ruled over the land for eons, before settlers arrived to carve their own land.  Some claim a heritage to vessels that departed not too long ago.  Arcane scholars in the art of Chronomancy have begun to suspect that some means of temporal anomaly occurred, while others suspect a meddling of space itself.  More than likely, both are correct.

The Sword Coast and beyond is badly broken, save for a few true “winners”.  The first strike came against Amn, with the Cowled Mages suffering a contagious illness brought upon by the Chaos Storm.  Rivals quickly got an upper hand, while the advantage was theirs to gain.  Worse, Spellhold suffered intensive damage from a storm, unleashing mad mages upon the nearby land.  Baldur’s Gate and Amn were already struggling from the Iron Crisis and Bhaalspawn events.  However, a truce allows both to continue well into the war, the latter suffering greatly.  To worsen matters, a revenge strike is organized by warbands from Maztica.  Ultimately, these brief skirmishes end in the warriors gaining reparations for their nation, after Cordell’s actions are made more public.  A colony is built off of an island not too far off sea from Amn, which develops into its own culture over time.  Reaching to Neverwinter, House Alagondar is thrown into danger following financial squalor almost as bad as Amn’s.  The Lords’ Alliance is brought into question when they fail to provide proper help, even after their own lands are well tended to.  Lord Nasher, advancing in age, fears that all potential successors will be weighed down by the burden they’ll inherit.

Beyond the Sword Coast, other matters are either dug up or surface in other ways.  Tales of Netheril return to public conscious after countless insane ramblings proclaiming that its people have arrived in Anauroch.  In truth, mutated “Shades” have returned to Toril in secret, while experimenting on and brainwashing captured Torilians for various reasons.  The Dalelands still reel from the pain of a surprise Underdark assault.  Drow were emboldened by a promise of a “Demon Weave”, in which Lolth seizes the tainted weave from Mystra.  This ended in “Those Who Harp” facing the greatest schism ever, with the faction risking total implosion.  Cormyr finally triumphs violently over rivaled powers.  Sembia is the most distraught by this, but concedes.  A rising Cormyrean empire shows promise as a true kingdom, with King Azoun’s successor readying to build upon it.  The surveillance projects are not unknown to many within Sembia though, who subtly try to play with them and sabotage in shadow.  Cormyr’s honorable facade gives way to harsh extended rule.

 

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Twilight Zone Intro;

 

Author: Doctor Necrotic

Hobbyist, amateur writer/screenwriter, wannabe-philosopher, music fan, history lover, cinemaphile, gamer, reviewer, and more. I'm a 30 year old hodgepodge of jobs and interests. My current projects on WordPress creating a wide variety of content for various tabletop roleplaying games, even showcasing published content here as well. When I have the time, I also create editorials and reviews spanning various bits of popular culture. I hope you take a moment to check my content out and maybe tell me what you think.

2 thoughts on “Mirrors below Waterdeep – Alternate Realities Continued”

  1. I really am glad you gleaned to my Radiant Evil idea all the way back when, and its nice to see that and other things I suggested come up every now and again

    Liked by 1 person

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