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Alphatian Creed

by Ville Lähde

While preparing for a possible diplomatic negotiation between the PCs and Alphatians in our campaign I started thinking how to portray their culture.

Up to now the PCs know very little of Alphatia proper, and what is known is more hearsay and myth than reality. Two of the PCs have been dealing with Alphatians in Norwold and Helskir, but always in exceptional circumstances: a city just occupied, deals with Alphatian secret agents etc. They have never run into Alphatians as a culture, as a society.

They of course know that Alphatia is a vast empire, they have heard the legends about thousands of wizards (which they rightly surmise are exaggerations), and they have run into Alphatian special spells, mostly unknown in Known World. From time to time the PCs and the players have asked the inevitable questions: How come they don't rule the entire world? How can Thyatis stand against them? etc. etc. I wanted to create a "feel" for Alphatia that would open their eyes to the truly "alien" nature of the culture. (None of the players - to my recollection - actually know that the Alphatians are offworlders.) The following is an account by an Alphatian agent that I've written for myself to be used as an inspiration for in-game discussions. This is not meant to be an exact description of Alphatia, but a perception of it.

(The context is the Freiburg invasion mentioned in my previous mail.)

"Thanks to you [PCs] we've learned of the coming war in this corner of the world which you so quaintly call 'The Known World'. We have no interest in it. We only need Freiburg for our operations in Isle of Dawn, and you Brunians can handle your own affairs...You see, we can wait, and Brun doesn't figure in our plans for a long time. It takes time to shape lands to our liking...It is very important that you understand this about us. We came to this world two thousand years ago, and we were then already as you see us now. We don't change, we change the world. Upon our landfall we found a world of chaos and barbarism upon which only we could bring the light of reason.

Forging barbarians into civilisation is a patient process, not a simple matter of conversion or conquest as the Thyatians seem to think. You cannot build a culture out of mercenaries and slaves, you must build a world in which people can become civilised - become Alphatians. In Alphatia proper nobody starves, nobody lacks a roof over their heads or a vocation to give their life direction. Alphatia is a paradise.

Building a paradise requires resources, however. It needs an outside. We need Norwold, Qeodhar, Isle of Dawn (or Sunset, depending of whom one asks) and our holdings in Skothar. But one by one each of them shall be incorporated into Alphatia proper and shown what paradise magic and reason can bring. In the meantime one needs the stick and the carrot. If someone rebels, he or she will be put down. If people conform, we will rid their cities of crime and offer them the possibility of trade and education. It will take generations, but people can see the promise for their childrens' children.

We know that Alphatian Order can survive even across the void, that many worlds can live in unison. We know that in the end the need for an outside is eliminated, when every corner of a world has been made into paradise. Once we did so, and so we shall do again. Regardless of race and colour, some day all of Mystara will live in paradise.

But for now, slaughter each other in Brun if you must. We have other things to do. One day Alphatia will turn its eye on your lands, and then your long climb to light begins."