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Alternatives to sinking Alphatia

by Mike Harvey

I hate to throw away a perfectly good gazetteer with many interesting lands. On the other hand I find the "magic empire" far too powerful (with respect to everyone else) and over the top. I'd prefer for Alphatia to be like the known world, with independent kingdoms of roughly a similar power level.

So, here is an alternate scenario:

The Glantrians "merely" destroyed the capital city of Sundsvall -- including the imperial family and the entire council of 36th level spellcasters -- and created a huge swath of blasted desert which is also a magic-dead zone. With the destruction of the imperial government and capitol, the empire collapses instantly, leaving the Alphatian kingdoms leaderless and stunned.

Besides the magical storm over Sundsvall, energies swirled outwards like eddies over the continent. In many places these drained or overloaded magic items, mutated monsters, even created small magic-dead zones or wild magic points.

With nearly all the high level wizards and clerics in Alphatia gone, their spells failed and their homes were left vacant. Monstrous and undead thralls were free to run amok over the countryside. Vacant towers are brimming with knowledge, magic, booby-traps, and uncontrolled guardians. Many of the castles of Ar crashed to the ground, others floated away as their magical tethers failed.

Naturally, social chaos ensued. Monsters and humanoids began to ravage the land. In many places commoners, freed of tyranny by the spellcasting elite, rose up in revolution and overthrew the remaining spellcasters. In other places, the remaining mid to low level wizards struggled to hold local government together and protect the populace. As kingdoms stabilized, war broke out across Alphatia, commoners vs. spellcasters, men vs. monsters, warlord vs. warlord, imperialists who want to restore the empire vs. independents who want to chart their own course. Some kingdoms were virtually destroyed leaving behind ruins and wilderness, others emerged largely intact.

The varied kingdoms and territories of Alphatia are now independent. Each retains aspects of its former existence, but each has been altered. And while thousands of wizards have been killed, thousands of items destroyed, much magic still remains... in short, the kingdoms in Alphatia are now "normal" and roughly on par magically with the rest of the world. Except for Glantri. It is likely that a few of them will unite to create a new empire, but such would be starting from scratch and surrounded by very hostile neighbors who have no wish to repeat history.