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Paths to Entropic Immortalityby David Knott
It has occurred to me that the Sphere of Entropy may have been formed (according to a controversial theory in PC 1) from a fusion of four Spheres that were formerly Entropic in nature. There is every reason that the distinctions among those original four Spheres might persist in the current Sphere of Entropy, with each of the four "sub-Spheres" dedicated to the destruction of one of the other Spheres. Furthermore, each sub-Sphere would have its own separate Path to Immortality, which would be seen by its opposed Sphere as a mockery of its Path. Candidates for Immortality on each of these Paths would be driven to act like stereotypical villains and in fact would actually have rational reasons to do seemingly bizarre things such as leaving high level heroes in "inescapable death traps" from which they are in fact able to escape.
The original quest to gain the attention of an Entropic Immortal should in most respects match the standard requirements, although I cannot help imagining that in place of a magic item of high value they might prefer the sacrifice of a human, demi-human, fairy, or monster of "noble" nature -- and of course rescuing said offering before the sacrifice takes place would make an excellent quest for non-Entropic adventurers.
While I have not worked out the details of the four Paths, I do have names and preliminary descriptions of them:
Path of the Fiend (opposed to Path of the Polymath): This path was suggested on the Mystara Mailing List by somebody whose name I have lost. One of its requirements is to separately betray one member of each of the four character classes. I would imagine that it should also include reincarnation into three other forms, with the traditionally most likely possibilities of cleric, mage, and thief being replaced by shapeshifter, undead, and goblinoid or other "degenerate" humanoid. Loki probably achieved Immortality via this Path.
Path of the Conqueror (opposed to the Path of the Dynast): This path was originally described in Gaz 10 and later amplified a bit by me. After meeting the requirements outlined in Gaz 10, during which a superior culture is conquered or destroyed, the candidate "dies" with his succession in an uncertain state, resulting in a civil war that tears apart his empire. The candidate must then travel into the future and possess one of his heirs (via a "Magic Jar" spell or similar magic) and then re-establish all or most of his old empire. Hosadus (the Master of Hule) is clearly set on this Path. Path of the Dungeon Keeper (opposed to the Path of the Paragon): This is the most common Path pursued by candidates for Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy, as it superficially appears to be easier than any of the others. The candidate must create an underground complex that stands up to the attacks of adventurers for at least a century and destroys a certain number of heroes sent to clear it out -- but in order to count for this purpose, each such hero must be of higher level than the last. Barimoor, among many others, seeks Immortality on this Path.
Path of the Archvillain (opposed to the Path of the Epic Hero): This is the Path that I have the least idea about how to handle, but it is the one pursued by "moustache twirlers" who clearly do not fit into any of the other Paths. Bargle the Infamous is probably seeking Immortality on this Path.
Finally, all of these Paths should make provision for "escapes" in which these candidates for Entropic Immortality somehow evade complete destruction at the hands of adventurers who somehow manage to foil their plots. Any candidate for Entropic Immortality who uses an "escape" must start his quest over and "raise the stakes", with a requirement to overcome heroes of a higher level than were required in his previous attempt.