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Alphaks Victorious

by Rodger Burns

This alternate history diverges from the main Mystara timeline before 1000 BC, with the war in Old Alphatia between the Followers of Air and the Followers of Flame.

In this history, Alphaks and the Followers of Flame are victorious. Old Alphatia is still destroyed, but it's the Followers of Air who are cursed and exiled, and Alphaks who leads the survivors' exodus to Mystara.

On Mystara, the Flame-followers build a society which is even more passionate, more impulsive and less organised than 'Prime' Alphatia. They're fearsome in warfare, cutting a swath through the Jennites, Minaeans and people of Eastern Brun, but less capable of holding land and ruling. Places like Bellisaria, Norwold and the Alatians become frontiers claimed as part of the Alphatian empire, but inhabited by people who are effectively independent as long as they don't attract the attention of the local wizard-lord. Alphaks avoids going (more) stir-crazy, and eventually achieves Immortality as the kind-but-stern-but-somewhat-kooky Alphaeos, patron of Imperial wizardry. (Think a pyromaniac bookworm Zeus, here.)

Because of the philosophical similarities between the Flame-Alphatians and the early Nithians, contact here is closer to a true partnership than 'Prime' Alphatia. The Nithians are eager to learn fire-magic from the Alphatians; the Alphatians are more than willing to adopt Nithian bureaucracy, and it seems like the two aligned might just merge into a single nation able to conquer the world. That is, until the Followers of Air show up. Led by the mad wizardress Aasla the Accursed, they descend on southeastern Brun and start a guerrilla war against the Alphatian empire. Air wizards create never-ending storms in the Western Sea of Dawn, and other oceans, start sending monsters and wizardly assassins against Alphatian wizards, and basically act as a sudden sharp hammer-blow against the powerful, but brittle and arrogant Empire.

I haven't plotted out specific history forward from there, but the threads probably continue to spiral forward in a similar vein; the 'present day' Known World has seen twelve centuries' worth of now-stagnated magical war, and all the politics, catastrophe and adventure possibilities that come out of such a mess. Building an adventure thread or campaign around this history is certainly different... but the thought of an Aasla-Alphaks role reversal is just subversive enough to tickle my funny bone.

(Okay, all you Alphatian Empire purists can sit right back down. It's an alternate history, alright?)