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The Known World (3000 AC)by John Calvin
This is a follow up on my posting for Shadow Elves (3000 AC). Just some quick thoughts on changes in the Known World.
Before I get started, let me say that I want my Mystara to evolve into a world with a mixture of high magic and high technology. I don't really want one to replace the other.
Also I wanted to prevent (or at least put less of an emphasis on) certain technological advancements (such as machine guns and other long range weaponry). To solve this problem I had Blackmoor re-emerge from the depths of the World Shield (where they had been living for all of these years). Technology (in my Mystara) becomes unstable in the presence of magic. The remnants of Blackmoor survived for so long by placing themselves in an area of Mystara that was most resistant to magical forces (the World Shield). Living in the bowels of the earth, they had no reason to develop long range weapons (how far can you shoot a gun in a twisty cavern?), but the did have reason to develop things such as robots, and laser based mining equipment.
[I'm modelling my robots after the two articles in Dragon (#258 and #268 IIRC). The way robots are handled there seems to mesh quite a bit with the way I want to use them in Mystara. 1) They are susceptible to magic. 2) They have powerful, technological devices, but the tech seems to be designed for cavern living...ie no long range laser beams or machine guns or ICBMs...laser torches, and mining (ie cutting/digging equipment) are ok.
Eventually such things might be developed, but then it becomes an arms race with magic users. As the tech develops long range tactics, so too will the magic users.] I also wanted to bring more of a wilderness feel to the Known World. In other words I wanted to de-populate the area...hehe..
Aengmor - During the years of cooperation with Blackmoor, this country once again becomes a fertile forest. It is still much changed from the time that the Alfheimers controlled it though. Once the Blackmoorians try to take over the CoS, this land becomes a haven for refugees trying to escape the conflict below. Shadow Elves who move into this area do not "evolve" as their below ground brethren do (or perhaps they evolve in a different direction).
Aengmor falls shortly after the machines take over the CoS. The machines quickly spread out from Aengmor and the Broken Lands to much of the KW. With the disappearance of the elves, much of the forest withers and dies. A few pockets of forest still remain (around the Alfheim magic points) with small tribes of elves still living there, defending their territory.
The Machine Lands (formerly Aengmor, Darokin, The Broken Lands, Southern and Western Glantri, Most of the Shires, Most of Karameikos, Western Rockhome, and patches inside of mainland Thyatis) - These lands have been invaded by self replicating machines coming up from Aengmor and the Broken Lands. They have extended their borders pretty much as far as they can go. The machines only power source is radiance from the CoS, although they may be trying to develop a way to reproduce the artifact. For the most part the machines will ignore organic creatures (unless said creatures present a threat to them), and focus on the harvesting of raw materials. Several isolated communities of humans, demi-humans, and humanoids can be found living throughout these regions, but they survive by keeping a very low profile. The machines will not allow communities of more than 250 people to exist within their lands (more than that is determined to be a threat).
All of Darokin's fertile land now goes untilled, as does much of the Shires. The Broken Lands/Glantri/Rockhome area is a highly contested location. Oenkmarian orcs (and other humanoids) do battle with the machines in this area on a daily basis.
Oenkmar (formerly Southern Rockhome, Northern Mainland Thyatis, and Western Ylaruam) - The Oenkmarian humanoids are now the most technologically advanced society in the KW (besides the Shadow Elves and pockets of Blackmoorians). They were driven out of their ancestral homes (the Darokinian Orclands) by the machines, and now fight a constant battle with the metal invaders. Oenkmarian society is very structures and orderly. They have formed a loose alliance with the dwarves remaining in Rockhome, as well as a secret alliance with Shadow Elves from the NoS.
The Oenkmarians have extended their territories into much of the Ylari Desert (once again a fertile valley) where they have come into contact with many ancient Nithian monuments.
During this expansion a party of humanoid adventurers (aided by several humanoid patrons, including Karaash) managed to find and destroy the Bead of Oblivion. The Nithian lore and magic that the Oenkmarians have uncovered has aided them greatly in defending their lands from the machines.
Rockhome - The area that the dwarves occupy is greatly reduced. The machines from the Machine Lands have taken over much of Western Rockhome, and if it weren't for the Oenkmarian humanoids, the machines might very well have taken the rest of the country.
Rockhome dwarves manufacture the best weapons in the KW, and the Oenkmarians do a lot of trading with them.
The Caverns of Western Rockhome have become quite dangerous in recent years. The machines themselves are dangerous enough, but because of their aggressive mining techniques, much of the cavern system is unstable. Cave-ins are a common occurrence.
Ylaruam - What once used to be a vast desert, is now a fertile valley. Aengmor's death, and Oenkmarian magic and technology have brought the waters back to this once dry land.
Outside of Oenkmar itself, this is the most heavily populated area of the KW. The population consists of humans of Ylari and Thyatian descent, as well as demi-human refugees from the Shires, Aengmor, and Karameikos.
Ylaruam is a protectorate of Oenkmar. The orcs need the resources produced here (mostly agricultural) in order to maintain their vast armies, however they have no desire to rule directly over this land.
Oenkmarian wizards roam the western and northern regions of this land (where the vast majority of Nithian artifacts and structures are to be found). Several of these Oenkmarian wizards have set up various wizardly academies in these locations, and they will accept nearly anyone as a student (Oenkmarians, Rockhomers, any of the Ylari).
Students must pledge a certain amount of time to the Oenkmarian military forces when their studies are done. Since the Bead of Oblivion has been destroyed, darker forces have begun to work again. Many of the "Nithian" schools are becoming corrupted by the same forces which corrupted Nithia so long ago.
Eastern Ylari is now the major trading centre of the KW. There is a massive merchant navy based out of the eastern port cities. The merchants trade with the scattered villages along the former Shire and Karameikan costliness, as well as travel to the Isle of Dawn, and beyond.
Glantri - Glantri is a land of upheaval. [Thanks to Web Warlock for posting some pretty cool ideas here. I like the idea of Priest Kings taking over Glantri in a revolution, so I'm going to borrow from that.] The rule of the Priest Kings came to an end shortly after the machines emerged from the bowels of Aengmor. The NoS Shadow Elves, together with a secret cabal of Radiance Wizards, overthrew the Priest Kings, and reclaimed Glantri for the wizards. The only wizards who dwell here now are Radiance Wizards, and Sheenmelders (cyborg-like technomancers). Their dominions are sparsely populated, and they prefer to keep to themselves.
Shadow Elves move mysteriously throughout the land, and it is unclear as to whether the Glantrian mages are merely puppets controlled by the Shadow Elves, or if they act upon their own whims. Either way, one thing is clear...no autonomous machines have succeeded in establishing a presence here (although every once in a while, they do try).
The Island Nations - I'm not quite sure what to do with these yet. Perhaps they are now home to Hin, and Thyatian refugees. Now that the Bead of Oblivion is destroyed, some Nithian influences might also start to emerge on some of the Thadder Isles.
Pirates, or course, are abundant, as are recluse mages.
Oh...here's an idea! In keeping with my "resurrecting ancient cultures theme", perhaps the above fleeing refugees turn to a form of magic which they believe will help them to resist the machine invaders...undeath. These islands would be a perfect place to resurrect Ancient Taymora. Vampires and were-creatures fighting the machines on the mainland. Perhaps some ancient Taymoran Necromancer King chooses this time to appear from the depths of the Sea of Dread to rebuild his empire.