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Alphaks Gallery of Villainsby Hausman Santos from Threshold Magazine issue 19
This article aims to inform the reader about the structure and organization of the Followers of Alphaks (among his notables). Although it has countless ranks in the primary plane, we focus here on those who are regularly active near Alphaks’ Island, the Sea of Alphatia and even parts of the Alphatian Mainland. The article covers a few characters, fields of action, network links, campaign plans and event ideas for the “Wrath of the Immortals” (WotI) campaign and also activities and plots proposed for the Mystaran Almanac in 1020 AC.
Alphaks comes amidst a history of conflict and destruction that drags us on an epic journey back from the old Alphatian dimension to the farthest Outer Plans in an exodus, to his eventual return as an Immortal from the Sphere of Entropy.
While the Followers of Air take their long journey between the planes until they find their new Alphatia, the Followers of Fire have a little time after their own exodus between planes to escape the destruction of their Dimension. But at this point, the old ruler Alphaks is no longer with them.
[Image: Alphatian cosmological origin]
Alphaks’ ascension occurred in the Red Dimension when he encounters the lost Followers of Fire wandering through the planes and obtains their oath of loyalty (as reported in the exodus legend of the Followers of Fire - in the form that is known by the Immortals):
It was in Pyts that they received a message in the form of assassin-warriors wearing the colors of Neru. When Memandius moved to kill them they exploded, detonating some spell that wrote words in their blood, and Memandius’ blood. "This dance has gone on long enough,” read the words. “Meet me in the Red Prison.”
Passing through a portal made from the bones of Temrin, an Immortal slain by Thanatos long ago, the Flaems entered a plane made up of red glowing planets strung together like pearls, and there, spread before them, was an army vaster than any they had ever seen. The warriors wore antique armor from all periods in Alphatia's long history, and their faces were corpses.
“Nemu!” called Anerdres. “Show yourself!”
And Nemu did, but by his side was a taller figure, dressed in the imperial robes of an Alphatian emperor. “It is not Nemu who has called you,” said the tall man. “But your emperor, Alphas IV, long exiled to this plane. Grown in power but half-finished, I have waited for my people to return to me.”
The Flaems, most of whom had never known the world that Alphas had ruled, looked upon the majesty of their long-gone king, the man who had begun a war that destroyed their home. “What do you want of us?” asked Anerdres.
And Alphas smiled. “Only your obeisance. Bow to me, reaffirm your fealty, pray to your god-king for salvation, and I will let you live.”
And the Flaems, lost for centuries and now with no allies, felt they had at last, in a twisted way, returned home. Yes, Alphas had been a tyrant, but he had been their tyrant, not one of the hated Followers of the Air. Yes, he had begun a war, but he hadn't finished it. It had not been him who had shattered the world. As one, the Flaem people knelt before Alphas, praying that he, at least, would save them.
Alphas IV grinned triumphantly as the power of the prayers filled him up. He grew taller, horns sprouted from his head, wings spread from his back, and his body burst into flames. “At last,” he murmured. “Those who banished me have acknowledged me their superior. My banishment is over.” The ground began to shake and the red planet began to split, and Alphas looked toward the heavens. “Great Thanatos, have I completed the final path?” His grin spread wider, becoming elation. “And now,” screamed the emperor. “I banish you! I need you no longer, for I shed my mortal coil and become Alphas IV no longer. From now on I am Alphaks, an Immortal!”
The Flaems fled the destruction of the plane, back through the gods-bone portal as Alphaks rose to glory. And as the plane shattered, another long-imprisoned entity emerged from the broken shells, a crystalline mass that called itself the Overlord. For now it noted the fleeing Flaems, but did nothing, climbing through the scales of reality to cooler climes.
Excerpt from the “The Exodus of the Flaems”1
Eventually the exodus continued (Alphaks left them) and they continued their journey until they finally reached the Highlands which in modern times would become known as the Principalities of Glantri.
[Image: Alphaks by Havard]
Alphaks continues on his journey of ascendancy as an Immortal establishing his power base. From this point, he prepares his revenge and begins to gather a sect of followers with the intention to go behind and destroy the Followers of the Air in the new lands established by Alphatians in the primary plane.
A BASIS OF POWER
From his established power base on his Home Plane of Doomgaard (the 170th layer of the Abyss), Alphaks sends a section of his followers to establish a foothold for actions against the Alphatians, on their newfound island continent. Thus they establish their deep citadel (the City of Revenge) hidden in Alphaks’ Island underground.
As regents of the site and representatives of the authority of Alphaks, the Black King and the Black Queen2 have received due immortal assistance in assembling and preparing this new and powerful Stronghold of entropic servants.
Assassins, spies, mercenaries, cultists and the like begin to amass the influence and power of the Black King's court with priests and avengers of Alphaks acting secretly towards the ultimate goal of Alphatia's destruction. They do this by various minor (or not-so-minor) acts of sabotage and corruption against the Alphatian people. However, Alphaks lacks the skill of careful, long-term planning, and so his followers cannot expect any grand plans from him. In other countries, followers of Alphaks engage in random acts of unthinking destruction.
KINGDOM OF ALPHAKS VOLCANO3
Population 5000 (including the City of Revenge).
About 300 miles off the northwest coast of mainland Alphatia lies a volcanic island perpetually wreathed in fog - the Island of Alphaks’ Volcano.
It was discovered less than thirty years ago. It may have appeared some time earlier and remained undiscovered due to its mantle of mists. Ordinary sailing vessels cannot reach it: they are destroyed by sea-monsters and mystery whirlpools. Experienced magic-users who use their powers to get to the island discover that it reeks of the magics of the Immortal Alphaks and swiftly leave (most, anyway; some are never seen again). It is said that there is a small community of magic users and clerics devoted to Alphaks here, but it has never been seen by any outsider. The volcano rumbles from time to time, but has not erupted since the island appeared. Under the fog is what looks like a dark and sinister but uninhabitable island. The volcano’s smoking crater, however, is actually a portal to the Sphere of Entropy, and the fumes which emerge from it are deadly. The Immortal Alphaks cannot direct them (they follow the winds, usually to Norwold), but can choose when they are released. In great ugly caverns hollowed out beneath the volcano - caverns decorated with Everburning flames and tortured heroes - is the evil City of Revenge, where some 5000 followers of Alphaks live.
They serve his will and travel the world, accomplishing destruction and inflicting pain wherever they go. Some are well-known wizards and ‘heroes’ keeping their association with Alphaks a dark secret. Others are men and women who have abandoned their normal identities to serve Alphaks full-time.
Death or torture is administered: to non-worshippers of Alphaks who reach the island, to citizens of Revenge who abandon their allegiance to Alphaks, to anyone who angers Alphaks, or to anyone who angers the Black King.
Agents of Alphaks are recruited from the outside world and brought here for an initiation ceremony. In the ceremony, the agent promises to serve Alphaks faithfully to the end of his days. Just to make sure, the Black King uses a variant geas spell (actually a wish) on the subject, whereby if the agent ever breaks his oath he must immediately, secretly return to Alphaks’ volcano and declare his defiance to the Black King. Naturally, at that point the Black King and his court kill the wretch.
The following is an overview of some notable personages in the service of Alphaks and involved in the campaign of actions promoted against Alphatia by the rulers of the City of Revenge.
Black King (CE male MU36 lv)
In charge of planning acts of hatred and vengeance against the Alphatians. He is 6’6”, 250 lbs, wears a pure-white kilt, boots and vambraces.
Black Queen (CE female C36 of Alphaks)
In charge of communicating regularly with Alphaks and getting his permission and recommendations on various deeds. She is 6’2”, 175 lbs, wears a pure-white knee-length gown, boots, and has pure-white hair to her mid-back.
Black Duke (NE male MU15 lv)
The Black Duke founded the dominion of Ossian in AC 10024, when he migrated to Norwold from Alphatia with his entourage of lackeys and Alphatian commoners. The county soon achieved the status of duchy by conquering nearby lands and killing the humanoid population. The capital of Schwarztal was seat of the Black Duke’s machinations and black magics during and after the Great War.
Dark Iron (CE no gender 9hd or 80 dp)
An artefact construct (the living armor) serving as the right arm of the Black King. This magical Champion was created by Alphaks himself from an unknown material (a strange blackened metal) and carries out the most difficult high-risk combat missions. Dark Iron can be treated in stats as a Death Knight 5 - except that he does not use hit points , but the AD&D damage points6 system of armor.
Devraks the Priest (CE male C17 lv of Alphaks)
Responsible for Black Masses at Alphaks Temple in the City of Revenge (assists Black Queen in rites and important ceremonies) and assists her by coordinating other smaller priests of Alphaks.
Black Swan (NE female 5+4 hd)7
A heraldic servant which can take on human form (a beautiful woman - or a black swan) who has assembled a group of male followers (magically enchanted) on behalf of Alphaks for actions on the Alphatian Mainland. Among its faithful servants are some avengers, corrupted heroes, and also a few bargda humanoids.
Flamewhip (CE male C16 lv of Alphaks)
Warpriest of field missions along with the Dark Avengers. His black clothes with his great sacred symbol on his chest (and flaming whip) are his trademarks - as well as profane prayers and derision while intimidating opponents in struggle.
Haad-al-Maat (a.k.a. Hadamaths) (AL male Efreeti 13 hd)
The alliance of the djin with the empire of Alphatia is known in the City of Brass. A renowned warband was sent by Emir Al Shams8 to settle the accounts against these allied Alphatians of the djinn from Al Samaa. Since then they have been hosted on Alphaks’ Island and have allied with Bhalonvor and some of Alphaks’ Followers of Fire.
Nagaroth (CE male Wraithlord MU13 lv)
A Scion undead sent by Alphaks to lead the undead guards that protect access to the island. He has coordinated and sent trusted servants (all undead) to help other dead who have been trapped in the catacombs since the time of Heroth9 so they can join the ranks of their army and navy (he is also becoming aware of the undead in Limn and wants to gain control over them).
Shadowmaster (CE Great Shadow 5+3 hd)
This magically enhanced shadow controls a network of spies in the service of the Black King, going to the darkest and most remote places or sending his sect of shadows.
Black Champion (CE female human (apparently) Avenger 17 lv)
An impressive fanatic Dark Avenger that has succeeded in several missions - its body is blackened and said to have returned from death a few times. Any warband that accompanies it on missions has its morale increased.
Alphaks’ Dark Avengers (CN male/female human Avenger 14-16 lv )
An order of fighters devoted to Alphaks’ teachings, the Dark Avengers serve as the agents of the Black King of Alphaks’ Volcano. Note that Dark Avengers are typically high level fighters with clerical powers. Thus, individual Avengers may recruit (and would be able to keep in line) goblinoids, mercenaries, and other lower level minions.
Vraakhys (CE male human C14 of Alphaks)
Taciturn and sly, he has been chosen from the Dark Avengers to prepare the region in the north of Limn and strengthen Bussnox to generate an insurrection in the coming years and thus a beachhead for more agents sent from Alphaks’ Island. Yet it is still very early and there are forces to be built.
Bhalonvor (CE male MU16 lv)
Flaem leader of the cultists among the Followers of Fire on the island of Alphaks10 (some of these descended from the lineage of the Flaem from Veydra and Carceri - the Red Prison Dimension). He has a network of contacts between the few Flaems in Glantri (whom he seduces and promises the secrets of the Eternal Flame - an allusion to the belief of the Flaems in the Order of the Flame). He is currently well established with another identity in Blackheart (rendering services to one of the several houses there with his knowledge of fire magic).
Under Creature11 (Al C; no gender or HD/Lvl identifird)
There are many other hidden surprises which might pose a threat to any invading force and which have dissuaded most of Alphaks’ enemies and rivals from mounting an all-out assault against the volcano. Some of these secrets are things that lay hidden beneath the volcano until Alphaks claimed it, others are treasures that Alphaks has managed (by recklessness and luck) to claim, and brought to the volcano. Not all of them are on Alphaks’ side, but most will be a danger to his enemies. As a result, he is allowed to keep his hold on the volcano uncontested… for now.
CONNECTIONS AND CIRCLES
The progression of the following events during the Great War involves several power groups and factions that are directly or indirectly involved, making the path of the clues really confusing and almost impossible to be unveiled to their actual cause (especially among Immortals). What follows is a proposal on how to keep this circle of relationships listed as a help for a diagram or table for the DM to make use of in their game campaign.
[Image: Diagram of groups]
Led by cultists of Alphaks’ Followers of Fire, some of whom are Flaems from the dimension of Veydra and Carceri (the Red Prison12), this group acts to aid a joint attack by efreet both in Aasla and in the Temple of Ixion in Floating Ar. These cultists are responsible for clashes in which the Glantrians are taken as guilty. Their bases of action include Alphaks’ Island and the Kingdom of Blackheart as well as pockets of spies in Glantri.
Servants of Heroth
The Servants of Heroth, long trapped in the necropolis there, have promised to support the liberation of the gates and seals of the old necropoli13 (currently in Haven, Bettelyn and even Heroth in Theranderol). As soon as the conflicts in Alphatia are intensified, the release of these undead will generate enough turmoil for a large-scale attack.
The minor leader of the Hadamaths is aided by 4 protective efreet, one a 3rd level shaman, and the others 2nd level wokanis. They remain stationed in the volcano of Alphaks’ Island from which they plan their attacks in Aasla and Floating Ar, and even against the djin of Limn. They receive unexpected help from Al Shams (in addition to Alphaks’ cultists).
Alphaks’ cultists contacted the Ogams and promised they would weaken the Frisland government and create turbulent conflict. These actions would strengthen the erratic regions against Azafez.. In return, a haven of stones between the Kerothar Mountains is being used by Alphaks’ cultists in the Upper and Lower trails there; intermittent trails to the north - old paths and passages left by dry rivers as follows.
Cultists of Alphaks
Cultists are disappointed with the few Orzafeth / Ogam allies that have been added to their forces. For now their “dark powers” are still unknown, and the undead and other planar creatures they control have yielded mixed results in combat. Despite this they try to expand their influence in Alphatia with any chaotic force that is hostile to the empire (forgotten enemies, oppressed or defeated forces, and sworn enemies of the imperial crown).
Conspirators in Thyatis
There are various groups in Thyatis, both in the imperial senate as well as among former military families, who disapprove of Thincol’s ascension to power and the current political course of the nation. Many of these are sympathisers of Emperor Gabronius’ old ideologies, republicans and opposition groups to the imperial crown. Such intrigue and political corruption promises to sow discord among the upper echelons of the Thyatian nobility. A current cult of Alphaks is well established in Thyatis City and its focus is on generating frictions and conflicts against Alphatia.
It balances and manipulates between the Alphaks cultists (who work in Thyatis and also Alphatia) and the interests of the opposition bloc in the Alphatian Council. This block covers Niborray, Gombar and Arogansan Council Members as well as several interested houses of Blackheart and Frisland (and a few bureaucrats in Haven and Greenspur).
Promises of power and mastery of the Thyatian crown have been whispered to some of the most radical among the Hattians; money and support from Isle of Dawn guilds are logistically preparing a group of conspirators (even some Storm Soldiers are already seduced by the proposal). What follows will be an attack on Thincol in the middle of the coliseum during the coronation anniversary festivities16 (as proposed in the DotE - book one adventures section).
The Alphatian Council is made from forces of diverse interests that are linked either directly or indirectly to power blocks within the Alphatian leadership and ultimately to those who dream of ascending the imperial throne.. At the moment Dalamar of Haaken17 presides over the Great Council as Prime Chancellor - being considered a supporter to Empress Eriadna; his secretary to the Council is Lord Niborray (an ally with Lord Gombar of Arogansa - in turn a primary ally of Queen Delilia of Bluenose). Other Council members from several homes in Blackheart and Frisland (and a few bureaucrats in Heaven and Greenspur) are interested in weakening the power of the base that supports Eriadna in the Council.
[Image: Great Council]
[Sidebar: Thank you to Bruce Heard]
Circle of Qain
An old power resurfaces brought about by an artifact. Promises of alliances between King Hugorth the Misanthrope and Struth the Shaker have once again convened a cabal of mages of power in the Qain Castle Ruins (to pick up from where it left off - but this time with the direct supervision of King Hurgoth). Disguised and incognito, the disseminators of rumors from the Alphaks’ Fire Followers speak of a recovered artifact18 and the alarming news about great magical powers possessed by the Glantrians.
[Image: Blackheart the Dark Plot - by Jose Ignacio]
King Hurgoth lets the rumors get to Empress Eriadna and an espionage mission is dispatched to Glantri (alternately to that, the rumors brought by Haldemar on the Nucleus of the Spheres confirm their suspicions to Eriadna). Hurgoth is advised by one of his chief admirals and officers - Lord Alketh (renowned champion since the Alphatian Spike) on warlike improvements and magic weapons that can be used against Glantri.
Blackheart has its curiosity released against a power that will launch Alphatia against Glantri - and will weaken the imperial throne with the support of the allies of Shraek.
The following notes suggest a progression of events for the Great War (WotI at its inception) and a note for future events in the timelines of fan almanacs (such as the Mystaran Almanac) for general DM use in their game group.
Meeting Allies (1002 AC)
Tensions rise on the Island of Dawn while Alphatia and Thyatis resolve their differences diplomatically. In Thothia a group of adventurers help Prince Ramehotep against the Night Spiders and Akhetheti.
On the Alphatian mainland, Alphaks’ cultists make new allies and prepare them to incite a series of conflicts (both to weaken the imperial throne and to incite Alphatia in a storm of internal friction).
[Image: Blackheart Heraldry]
In Blackheart, Struth the Shaker receives an unexpected gift from the Followers of Fire: a Flaem artifact stone - this enables him to gather former allies of Castle Qain such as Chalmis, Zsiga and Lavar among other noble houses of the kingdom. These links are beginning to be established - with the participation and contribution of King Hugorth the Misanthrope.
Everyone begins to perceive a latent power in Glantri being manipulated by the circles of wizards secretly there. After Haldemar reports his investigation into the Nucleus of the Spheres to the Empress, Eriadna becomes convinced that clues need to be investigated in detail in Glantri. A spy (Troikithus) is chosen to contact the House of Aendyr in the Principality of Blackhill and to investigate the Great School of Magic in Glantri City. Troikithus passes himself off as an elven scholar from Karameikos who has recently immigrated to the Principality of Erewan.
Alphaks’ cultists are establishing bases of power in various regions of the Alphatian Mainland and empire borders (Limn, Arogansa, Blackheart, Frisland, Isle of Dawn, Ne´er-do-well ... etc).
War Prelude (1004 AC)
Troikithus, a Shiye elf well connected in several networks both in Shiye Lawr and in Blackheart, becomes Alphatia’s chosen spy in Glantri. Because of his connections with Master Edrecort (from Alfheim) they hoped that he could remain among the Erewan elves for quite some time, despite the fact that he had several skeletons hidden in his closet. Unknown to most is that he owed many favors in Blackheart, spying for nobles there, and passing along many secrets amongst them.
Troikithus is murdered in the process of stealing a crystal-receptacle from the Brotherhood of the Radiance (one that belonged to Danira Voshane).19 His body is found in Glantri City (floating in the canals).
The Accusations between Glantri and Alphatia begin to intensify.
Lady Karyndra (an Agent of Alphaks) approaches Queen Delillia and Lord Gombar the magnificent in an attempt to manipulate them and bring them under Alpahks’ influence. Lord Gombar the magnificent, a Grand Council member and Arogansan supporter, had already been quite successful at manipulating several younger council members and eroding the influence of Eriadna's allies. Even the Great Council President Lord Dalamar of Haaken has fallen ender his sway.
Rumors (by Eiryndul) of the Treasures of Retebius begin to flood Norwold again. Apparently in the past,he acquired his loyal mount, uncovered ruins of Alinor, and supposedly discovered older, greater secrets. His example inspired the Retebius Air Fleet and the Order of White Drakes. Oceansend also became a clandestine refuge for the Order of White Drakes in the past. Thincol had ordered the extermination of the famed unit after they refused to defend Thyatis during the Spike Assault in AC 96020.
[Image: Thyatis Heraldry]
Some Alphatian and Thyatian agents are sent to investigate the rumors (for it was believed that Retebius also held Alinor and Alphatia’s magic secrets to dominate winged creatures) this falls into the field of interest of the dragons when some incursions of agents begin to enter the Wyrmsteeth which promptly rejects any inquiries on the spot.
On the anniversary of the Coronation of Emperor Thincol the Brave in Thyatis City, Hattian radicals (sponsored by Alphatian conspirators) fail in the attack on the Emperor in the Coliseum - Tathenodosius is captured by adventurers and the Imperial Guard.
Attack on General Torenal (responsible for the personal guard of the Empress Eriadna) ends with his death during a visit of the Glantrian delegation to discuss the accusations of Alphatia; all are imprisoned and an extensive investigation ensues.
[Image: Torenal Heraldry]
Alphaks and his followers prepare the next round of clashes to increase the friction and hostilities between Glantri and Alphatia.
A surprise attack occurs in Glantri during a dinner involving several local nobles; the attackers (Alphaks’ cultists in disguise, accompanied by Alphaks himself) are recognized as members of the Alphatian Great Council and allies of the president Dalamar of Haaken. Among the surviving Glantrians is Prince Innocenti of Malapietra.
At the same time in Thyatis City, a similar attack is prepared by Alphaks’ cultists (with local support) against the Glantri embassy in the Emperor’s Hill district. Glantri’s ambassador Catharine d'Ambreville is seriously wounded but survives. She also identifies that her attackers appeared to be from the Alphatian Great Council - she claims to have seen the coats of arms and crests of the council's Alphatian guard - Ordo Imperialis.
[Image: Coat of Arms - Ordo Imperialis]
An incident occurs during Ericall’s marriage at the court of Alpha; Dark Avengers try to thwart the ceremony and incite suspicions of their actions as if they were motivated by Glantri. Soon after, Lady Alanira from Stonewall (Ericall’s bride) is kidnapped by strangers but ends up being rescued with the help of adventurers21.
[Image: Alpha Norwold Heraldry]
Having suspected the involvement of bandit guilds (in the case of Alanira’s unsuccessful abduction), Ericall and his personal guard visit Landfall and Oceansend to investigate possible rumors of conspiracy. He talks to his half-brother Lernal the Swill and also to King Yarvik, but finds no evidence that leads to any result.
Envoys of Glantri accompany a delegation of Thyatian diplomats to the embassy of Thyatis at Denwarf Hurgon in Stoutfellow. In audience, they demand that Alphatia deliver to them the culprits for the attacks at Glantri and Thyatis along with a proper detraction of their actions from the Great Council; Alphatia denies its involvement in the events and accuses Glantri of the incident in Aasla.
In a surprise move (after the exchange of war declarations between Glantri and Alphatia), Thyatis threatens to oppose Alphatia, stating that Alphatia cannot be permitted to prey upon the smaller nations.
The situation decays and degenerates, ending the diplomatic ties between Thyatis and Alphatia.
A series of clashes and accusations erupt within the Great Council and President Chancellor Dalamar of Haaken ends up being removed from his post. Niborray (hitherto secretary general of the Council) is promoted to the position of President (with the support of the opposition bloc and allies of Lord Gombar the Magnificent). Eriadna loses influence and the forces supporting her withdraw with Dalamar's estrangement.
[Image: Alphatia Heraldry]
Numerous temples to Asterius in Alphatia are burned to the ground. Several Glantrian elves from House Erewan are captured and accused of the crime. Despite claims they were transported to the temples by magic, the elves are convicted and sentenced to death.
[Image: Aasla Fire]
The Glantrian elves held in Alphatia manage to escape. In the process, they steal a skyship in the city of Aasla and set fire to the Alphatian fleet of skyships as well. Using the elve’s escape as a distraction, Alphaks’ Followers of Fire (disguised as Glantrians) open magical portals to the plane of fire in the city of Aasla; Efreet of Hadamath receive help from Al Shams and set fire to the entire city in a great conflagration.
[Image: Emir Al Shams]
Having lost most of the skyship fleet, Alphatia plans another military move in order to not be defenseless during this period of conflicts and friction. The magical research arms of the imperial military, such as the secured and secret facility of Nogryn Vaults in Randel, and also the secret research base for skyships in the Eadrin region, double their efforts to develop more powerful incantations for the new air fleets that must be rebuilt.
[Image: Heldannic Heraldry]
One of these projects, in the Belsaphet Tower, in the Wraith district of Floating Ar, is attacked by Heldannic knights in Warbirds; The theft of plans is thwarted by the Imperial Alphatian Navy with help from Alphatian adventures. A Glantrian spy Moriluna (actually an agent in the service of Alphaks) flees to her hiding place in Glantri. The Alphatian heroes follow her in a chase that ends with a showdown at her Shadowfall Manor22.
In Floating Ar, Ixion's main temple is attacked by Alphaks’ Followers of Fire (disguised as Glantrians) along with Efreet. Alphaks's plans are thwarted when a group of high-level adventurous heroes plus some Sollux of the Brotherhood of the Sun come to the defense of the site.
Moriluna brings samples of Oil of Memories from the Windstone Tower in Glantri to the cultists of Alphaks; research to reproduce it continues on Alphaks’ Island and in Blackheart.
Open Confrontation (1005 -1009 AC)
War is officially declared between Alphatia and Glantri - Thyatis and the Heldannic Knights seize the opportunity, also declaring war against Alphatia. An arms race begins between those nations.
Magic attacks carried out by Alphatians in Glantri release several conjured / magically built monsters; cultists of Alphaks take advantage of the tumult to send several beasts and horrendous creatures into Glantri (mainly in Erewan, Nouvelle Averoigne and Blackhill)
[Image: Glantri Heraldry]
The Alphatian tactic of indirect engagement of Glantri continues as their spies summon numerous monsters inside the nation and let them go wild, using a similar tactic that Glantri employed against them.Glantrian agents teleport into Alphatia proper to conduct numerous acts of sabotage and assassination. Numerous creatures are summoned and let loose to terrorize the country side.
Attack of Hytiliaph (and allies) joins with Thyatian scouts in Blackheart for the rescue of Felminaria23 who was a captive of Lord Alketh, an officer in Blackheart and Admiral of the Alphatian Navy. Alphatian troops and golem guards face them, but suffer heavy casualties and damage.Several bands of undead use the confusion to attempt to destroy the labs and hiding places where the Oil of Memories were stored.
In Qain Castle some undead and spirits of the old circle of Reddican try to face King Hurgoth and Struth the Shaker - they believe that Hurgoth has control of the power of the artefact Mcguffin24 (still missing). The undead are defeated.
Alphatian troops begin a raid against the thyatian territories on the Isle of Dawn. Both Thyatian and Alphatian troops begin to land on the Isle of Dawn. Hostilities break out all over the island between the territories loyal to each empire.
Battle of Portage. Thyatian and Alphatian armies meet in force between East and West Portage. The Alphatian wizards tip the balance of the battle, sending Thyatis’ forces back several miles.
Traces of the Tathenodosius conspiracy: some of the sponsors of the attack of Hattian radicals against Emperor Thincol are hiding traitors from the Retebius Air Force in the kingdom of Randel (Town of Doxeton 25) . Thes traitors had taught the RAF maneuvers to the Aalphatians. A detachment of the Order of the Silver Shield (a military order of Thyatian air raiders) with accompanying heroes on the mission locate, capture and / or execute the Thyatian traitors. Many of the Silver Shield's knights are killed in the confrontation with Randel's guard.
During the campaign against the Thyatian traitors, secret plans of Randel’s military action in the war against Thyatis are stolen by Glantrian agents who waited for the opportunity while the military elite of Randel and the King Verotriks were in the Isle of Dawn. After these actions, the Glantrian spy and agent Brodicim is never seen again.
Glantrian wizard spies/adventurers travel to Ampulia/Sundsvall (capital of Alphatia) and other cities to harass noble houses and estates with fire-bombs. They also launch hit and run attacks on wizards and military sites, releasing conjured monsters and the like in the streets.
Taking advantage of the wave of attacks around Alphatia, Reddican (returned as a powerful undead) can act and manifest himself in the physical world more powerfully thanks to the use of Oil of Memories. He initiates a personal hunt for the allies of King Hurgoth and Struth who have the old pendants (used in AC993 in Qain26) to store magic spells that would be used to help take over Blackheart and the empire.
Battle of Kopstar. A surprise attack by Alphatian forces teleported into The Principality of Bergdhovern is predicted by Glantrian diviners. The Alphatian force is met with heavy resistance and smashed, but Prince Vlaardoen27 is killed in the fighting.
The 2nd Alphatian expeditionary force teleports into the borderlands and divides into small units to attack in the southern and eastern marches on Glantri. The Glantrian army meets them at Trintan in Erewan, Monteleone, Satolas and Bramyra; this time the Glantrians hold back, making a good defense against the Alphatians.
Battle of Ar28. The entire Retebius Air Fleet is sent to attack the Alphatian kingdom of Floating Ar. The attack comes as a surprise, though the wizards put up a valiant defense. The Air Fleet suffers significant loses, but Floating Ar is left ablaze. Other strategic points where skyships may be assembled (such as Stonewall, Haven or Greenspur) undergo minor attacks aimed at decreasing Alphatia’s air navy resources during the War.
[Image: Floating Ar Heraldry]
Beginning of the Alphatia Campaign on Thyatis Mainland: Alphatian troops take the coast of Ylaruam and start the march to the Duchy of Tel Akbir where they begin to enter the territory of Thyatis.
Lord Bussnox from the Kingdom of Limn managed to break his bond with the vampire Count Mzilikazi when, with the help of the Dark Avengers of Alphaks, he became a nosferatu. Now he secretly plots the fall of his cousin Mzilikazi, only awaiting the right opportunity. In the Winterfall Hills near Sheb-Talai, Bussnox houses Vraakhys, an agent of the Dark Avengers who has taught the Lord various spells to deal with planar monsters and to capture fomorian giants.29
Vraakhys prepares the ground in the north of Limn and strengthens Bussnox to generate an insurrection in the following years and thus a beachhead for more agents to be sent from Alphaks’ Island. Vraakhys had met in secret with the hephaeston Rajmund and commissioned a strange device (a powerful warmachine made by a special metal). In exchange for this service, he promised Rajmund revenge against his enemy the mountain giants’ leader, Martoth.
Incursions of Alphaks’ followers along the coast of Eanna: Several undead aboard the dreadnaughts take advantage of the tumult of the War (and the absence of troops engaged in the distant battles in Thyatis) and begin to take the north with little resistance.
Ruins on the edge of Frisland (like Taraldstad) are taken by Ironclads. Bussnox makes his surprise move against Mzilkikazi in his castle - believing to have destroyed it after a definitive confrontation - then declares himself ruler of the northern region of Limn.
Dark Avengers are struggling against the Order of Dracor (an order of Avengers defending the lands of Limn) but are forced to retreat to the besieged Dracor Castle, where Torpes and his troops remain besieged. The Marthedren are allied in defense.
By order of King Drushiye, the Hordes of Limn march to reestablish the dominion in the north. The battles are tough - attack after attack. Some surprises: their undead break free of control after an attack from another undead horde flying the ancient flags of Heroth, a people conquered long ago by Alphatia.
[Image: Limn Heraldry]
The king’s troops keep the law along Theraba and the Trollhattan River. Some time later, the support of Imperial troop reserves come to help Limn and the fight becomes more balanced.
Mzilikazi returns unexpectedly in a definitive and triumphant confrontation against Bussnox and Vraakys with unexpected powers. The Order of Dracor restores order around Castle Dracor and to the path of Torpes. Hordes of Limn and Imperial troops then emerge to sweep the invaders north.
Dark Avengers defeated at Eanna Bay; Alphak’s forces in Taraldstad and its outskirts (the border in Frisland) offers resistance for a brief time, but then decide to retreat to Alphaks’ Island when reinforcements from Frisland and Imperial Alphatian troops comes to aid. The invasion of the coast of Limn is lost.
Struth the Shaker and King Hurgoth (along with Chalmis and Lavar and their allies) discover a way to replenish the ancient crystal receptacle of Danira Voshane with Glantri’s radiance energy: through a connection / space spell allowing energy to flow and thus fuel the receptacle. (They still do not quite understand the handling of the radiance spells, but they get some results with the use of Redicann pendants and the Flaem’s magical stones artefact). The event is soon perceived by Rad and the Brotherhood of the Radiance is sent to solve the problem.
Reddican (along with Orvan, Melina and allies) use some of the stolen pendants’ power to focus their efforts on a new attack on King Hurgoth, Struth and their allies - to take the receptacle and kill them once and for all.
Next, members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance appear at the decisive moment of confrontation (in an unexpected movement of advantage). Hurgoth is dead and Struth is severely wounded by magic and retreats. Chalmis and Lavar also manage to leave, but many of their allies are assassinated. The receptacle is definitely taken and destroyed and the artefact medallion is taken to Glantri.
News of the death of King Hurgoth compels Admiral Lord Alketh to abandon the war campaign against Thyatis and Glantri to re-establish order in Blackheart while Belgoroth the Lamer takes the throne. In Qain Castle, Reddican and his circle of allies plan to extend their power and take Shraek.
Shadows of the Great War (1009 -1010 AC)
Struth partially recovers from his wounds and soon plots his revenge against the Glantrian Brotherhood of the Radiance - trying to convince the Great Council to take direct action against Glantri.
Lord Alketh leads a military campaign against Castle Qain and the undead allies of Reddican to dominate the place. There follows an extensive battle in Blackheart.
- A great bolt strikes from the blue, touching upon Sundsvall. The entire city glows with a white-hot intensity, and explodes in a mighty pillar of fire. The tremendous shockwaves extend for miles in all directions, toppling buildings, opening crevasses, and altering the courses of rivers. At the epicentre, a mile-wide crater sits where the imperial capital once graced the landscape, surrounded by broken lands, toppled boulders, and pools of magma. The explosion also hurls many tons of dust, dirt, and ash into the atmosphere, blanketing the region in a dark grey haze. The Doomsday Weapon created by Rad has been successful.
- Members of the Alphatian Great Council gather for a magical bombardier attack against Glantri City. Struth the Shaker joins the attack, teleporting to the scene. As the city faces a magical storm of battle, Struth attempts to find traces of the Brotherhood of the Radiance (but unsuccessfully). Shortly after, the Alphatian continent is destroyed by the waves, and sinks into the sea due to the Doomsday Weapon Artefact.
All over the empire, chaos ensues as news of the event spreads, and as the total damage is estimated. Empress Eriadna and the Grand Council are no more, and a large portion of the skyfleet stationed over the mainland has likewise been destroyed. In the surrounding region, thousands have died due to collapsing buildings, explosions, and fires raging across the land. Many of the central kingdoms, suffering the brunt of the disaster, descend into anarchy. Those farther away try to close their borders to the strife. Alphatian soldiers outside the empire, who were engaged in a planned assault on Glantri, withdraw to Alphatia once they learn of the disaster. Discipline breaks down as soldiers, eager to return home to ensure the safety of their families, find any means possible to leave. Those soldiers occupying Thyatian regions of the Isle of Dawn are quickly thrown out during the ensuing strife30.
For a long time the staus of Alphaks’ Volcano remains unknown after the destruction of the continent of Alphatia. The truth is that it remained hidden among the haze and fog in the new Alphatian Sea. During this time the Black King’s servants investigated and probed the extent of the destruction suffered by Alphatia before resuming their activities to destroy what had remained of the colonies of the old empire.
Almanac Age (1016 AC)31
On the Alphatian Floating Continet, Karyndra's reappearance is another ploy of Alphaks to stir up trouble in Alphatia. Alphaks offered her passage to Arogansa. Karyndra may be a stereotypical Arogansan, but she does not follow the edict of Alphaks; she only wishes to leave Esterhold and return to Arogansa.
Since her return to Arogansa, Karyndra has wisely withheld any comments on Floating Alphatia. It did not take her long to uncover who knew of Alphatia’s true history and why it was being kept from the general public. Fearing retribution from more powerful mages, she has decided to keep her mouth shut. This has enraged Alphaks, who decided to send some of his hoodlums to give her a not so gentle reminder of her part of the deal. This ploy backfires as Karyndra discloses Alphaks’ involvement in getting her to Alphatia as well as what he wants her to do.
With her divulgence of Alphaks’' involvement, the followers of Alphatia decided to protect Karyndra. To stand up against the possible minions of Alphaks, the Order of Razud has also obliged and dispatched one of its most formidable clerics to act as her escort.
In the city of Bluenose, Imperial troops assault the popular tavern, The Merry Mermaid. The worship of Alphaks is outlawed and punishable by death. This raid is part of the empire’s crackdown on the followers of Alphaks. Information gathered from Karyndra and by Alphatian agents has revealed that The Merry Mermaid is a front for a group of Alphaks’ followers. Imperial troops are sent in to destroy the follower’s meeting place. Though a success, the raid proves more difficult than expected as the cultists put up a strong defence, taking full advantage of the catacombs and sewers beneath the tavern. The cultists are eventually struck down as the Imperial troops offer no quarter.
While strolling the streets of Bluenose, Karyndra and Tazzal are attacked by a trio of ruffians. Before help can arrive, Tazzal has dispatched each of the assailants. The attack is another attempt by Alphaks to get at Karyndra. Unlike his previous attempt, a depleted follower base hinders Alphaks - the previous raid on his followers has virtually eradicated them. The few surviving followers are widely dispersed, some even in hiding. Alphaks is forced to send what agents he can to do the job; these amateurs are no match for Tazzal’s mace and spells. Karyndra stays protected.
In the Outer World,a huge bank of red fog rolling in from the Alphatian Sea engulfs the eastern coasts of Norwold, crawling over the elven lands of Ironwood like a silent and deadly lover. The elves wake up coughing and find themselves looking through a translucent veil of red fog; other elves do not wake up at all. The mists are brought westward by strong wind currents and start to expand inland at high speed.
Indeed, Alphaks has unleashed his final weapon upon Norwold to destroy all his enemies, both Alphatians and non-Alphatians alike. Talitha convinced him to resort to the sick red fog produced by a special artefact she crafted and gave him, the Crimson Brazier. So he placed the artefact inside Alphak’' Volcano and ordered his Black King and Black Queen to activate it, powering it through the use of the Pouch of the Winds, one of the so-called Alphatian Artefacts, which is steady pushing the red mists westward at high speed. Alphaks plans to infect the whole of Norwold with the disease carried by the fog, a debilitating plague which causes a heart attack to those who inhale it and slowly drains away the strengths of those who survive but remain in contact with it. Those who die because of the Red Disease have their skin turned crimson and their soul is drawn into the Crimson Brazier, thus preventing any attempt to raise them.
A small party of adventurers, sent by the NACE32 Council to discover the source of the mists that have been plaguing Norwold lately, discover the existence of Alphaks' Volcano.
-An expedition of adventurers and lords from Norwold reaches Alphaks’ Volcano aboard the Silver Arrow II (King Sieger’s skyship) by following the huge fog bank responsible for the disease eastward. It soon becomes clear that Alphaks the Destroyer is behind the Red Disease, and the Caretakers and King Blackblade (also on board Sieger's skyship) organise an on-the-spot investigation to locate the source of this plague and destroy it. All the adventurers and lords gathered on the ship take part in the action, which leads them inside the heart of the enemy base.
[Image: Inside the Island]
After confronting dozens of undead, including a nightwalker and a nightwing, tens of cultists and other dangerous madmen, they find the chamber where the Crimson Brazier is guarded and are met by the Black King and Black Queen and their golem guards, backed by none other than the mortal identity of Alphaks! A fierce and ruthless battle takes place for the conquest of the Crimson Brazier and the Pouch of Winds, and when the Norwold heroes manage to kill the Black Queen and hurt Alphaks, the Roaring Fiend goes berserk and assumes his manifestation form, unleashing his fury onto the bystanders, who nevertheless manage to hold their own with him. This only enrages him more, and the wizards exploit his fits of rage to their advantage: Sieger grasps the Crimson Brazier and manages to have Alphaks cast a spell on him while holding the artefact in his hands. The destructive spell shatters the artefact, although Sieger manages to survive the explosion thanks to his own protective spells and the immediate cure cast by Zoltan.
Out of his wits for the impudence of the mortals, Alphaks prepares to rend their souls with his own claws, not noticing that a group of strangers has appeared in the hall. When he is about to throw himself against the Caretakers and their friends, Alphaks discovers he cannot move: somebody with a titanic force is holding his arms from behind. Turning around and cursing, he suddenly turns pale when he recognises the strangers who are now staring at him with an angry look. The blond muscled warrior of obvious Antalian blood holding Alphaks’ arms swiftly lifts the now screaming demon over his head and thrusts him against the wall, which then collapses over the stunned demon. As the other strangers begin to weave a powerful spell under Alphaks’ dreadful stare, the blond warrior whispers something to the Caretakers, and they immediately round up their friends and flee from the place at the highest speed possible. When they return aboard the Silver Arrow II, which is floating above the isle, they hear a loud “boom” and an inhuman cry coming from Alphaks’ Volcano, and after a while the mists stop pouring out of the volcano’s mouth. Then the island starts to sink, shaken by powerful earthquakes. After witnessing the complete destruction of Alphaks’ Volcano, the flying ship heads back to Norwold.
It was only during the later Norwold Wars of AC 1016 that Black Duke tightened his grip on his people, showed his envy towards Erical’'s power, and sided with the Qeodharans. Actually many say he planned the whole Norwold invasion, attacking the nearby Kingdom of Alpha and blackmailing many of the Norwold rulers. At the end of the war he was finally defeated and the Duchy of Ossian was reduced in status as well as in size, partially absorbed by the Draconic Earls of Wyrmsteeth according to Arcadius.
The Revenge of Alphaks (1020 -1021 AC)33
After the complete destruction of Alphaks’ Volcano in 1016, Alphaks has now been banished from Mystara for three years. His followers are scattered across Norwold without a leader. In 1020 the Black King and his remaining sect finally contemplate the return of Alphaks and are thus contacted directly from his home plane.
With the serious political and economic problems plaguing Nayce34, the Alphatian Confederation is taken by surprise and can not offer much resistance when events become evident: Alphaks’ Dreadnaught undead army has begun its campaign of conquest. They attack lands and islands of the West Alphatian Sea (including Monster Island and Sanctuary's surroundings - the former capital of Nayce until 1019 when it was then relocated to the City of Vaisalian on the continent of Bellissaria).
WHAT COMES NEXT?
This will undoubtedly prove to be an unprecedented challenge for Nayce (sunk and involved in internal affairs) who must let go of their frictions and individualistic struggles to deal with this deadlock situation. The remnants of Randel, including King Verothrics, will be the most determined to exterminate this threat (proving their valor and warlike superiority). The truth of the outcome of this conflict will be shown in the years to follow.
[Sidebar: Thank you to Bruce Heard]
A special thank you goes out to Bruce Heard for letting us use his Alphatian heraldry. This heraldry was created for Bruce’s expansion of Alphatia, which can be found on Bruce Heard’s blog spot. For those articles, and more (including new work on the world of Calidar), please visit http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/.
- Geoff Gander
“An Alternate Timeline for Alphatian Events After the Wrath of the Immortals” on Pandius http://pandius.com/alph1009.html
- Bruce Heard
“Alphatian Coats of Arms -- Part II” http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com.br/2012/07/alphatian-coats-of-arms-part-ii.html
“The Grand Council of Alphatia” on Pandius http://pandius.com/grancoun.html
Dragonmage of Mystara (Mystara Setting the Dragonlord Chronicles , No 3)Paperback – April 1, 1996.
Son of Dawn - First Quest Series Paperback – May 1, 1995
Alphak’s Gallery of Villains by Hausman Santos [used by permission of the artist] modified from the 8mph Map of Frisland by Thorfinn Tait [Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)] via Atlas of Mystara
monster-devil-fear-mask-horror by MakyFoto [CC0 Creative Commons] via pixabay
[JTC - unfortunately we can’t use these for copyright reasons. I’ve replaced with url above
Alphak’s Island by Thorfinn Tait (cropped from the 8mph Map of Frisland) [Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)] via Atlas of Mystara
Diagram of Groups by Hausman Santos [ used by permission of the artist]
Coat of Arms of the Great Council by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Coat of Arms of Blackheart by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Thyatis heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Torenal heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Coat of Arms of the Ordo Imperialis by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Alpha (Norwold) heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Alphatia heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Eruption of Vesuvius from Pacini's opera L'ultimo giorno di Pompei by Alessandro Sanquirico [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Coat of Arms of Emir Al Shams by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Heldannic heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Glantri heraldry by Mario Ciuffini [used by permission of the artist] via The Vaults of Pandius
Coat of Arms of Floating Ar by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Coat of Arms of Limn by Bruce Heard [Used by permission] via Bruce Heard’s Blog Spot [http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/]
Nemo Aronax Atlantis by Alphonse de Neuville and Edouard Riou [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
9Currently Heroth is one of the major cities of Theranderol, but was once a powerful kingdom that fell before the Alphatian invasion. Its history can be found in “The Conquest of Alphatia - The Early Years” by Jamuga Khan and Captain Ebenezum on Pandius http://pandius.com/alphconq.html
11In addition to the Dreadnaughts and undeads below the island (and an entire town of cultists) you may get an idea of additional creatures by reading “Secrets of Alphaks’' Volcano” by Rodger Burns no Pandius . http://pandius.com/alphaksv.html
12As described in the brilliant work "The Exodus of the Flaems" by Ripvanwormer on Pandius http://www.pandius.com/exoflaem.html
15See the module DDA2 Legions of Thyatis for more information on how Wastoure comes to the outer world, and the influence he has on the Thyatian Senate.
17Dalamar of Haaken is reported as a distant cousin of Haldemar and can best be seen in "The Grand Council of Alphatia"
20This event was inspired by the notes described in GAZF 9 “The Free City of Oceansend” on Pandius
21As Related on “Test of Warlords” CM1 - TSR publishing
22See “Windstone Tower” and “Shadowfall Manor” on Bruce Heard’s Blog http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com.br/2013/11/BBBee02.html http://bruce-heard.blogspot.com.br/2013/11/BBBee03.html
23This interesting work by John Calvin that expands and improves the description of the golden dragons of Thyatis and his relationship with Vyalia elves and the kingdom of Wyrmsteeth is being discussed with me and him so that it may be deepened and developed in a series of short stories, articles or novels. See “Hytiliaph” and “Adventure ideas - Working Against Hytiliaph” by John Calvin on The Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com/hytiliph.html http://www.pandius.com/hytwork.html
24The artefact Mcguffin appears in the First Quest novel Son of Dawn by Dixie McKeone.
29A logical sequel to the plotline presented in “A Gazetteer of Limn” articles - published on Threshold Magazine issues
32NACE is the New Alphatian Confederate Empire, a government that was formed by Alphatians who survived the destruction and sinking of their continent.
34Late in AC 1016 a new name came into being when referring to the New Alphatian Confederate Empire (or NACE). Most common folk began to use the name Nayce. See Addressing an Alphatian from the 1016 MA [http://pandius.com/alphname.html]