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Wendar -- Power Lines & Sentient Buildingsby Bruce Heard
> Although I still don't like the idea of Wendar elves kicking out their
> humans cousins it would seem that a scenario involving Wendar elves,
> humans and Alfheim elves would have definitely fun consequences such
> as your mad buildings.
When the scenario kicks in, elves and humans are on friendly terms. As the caretakers discover the properties of individual magical structures, they begin to realise the need to close their doors to all other races, including their human friends. Half-elves (in the AD&D game) would be unwelcome, but tolerated). Of course, this is all relative to the original race of the caretakers. As the cities become sentient later on, then the elves might want to keep the humans out of them entirely. That's a slow process at first (years), but it's likely to cause the two communities to clash as humans are expropriated from their own homes in the process.
I need to include a fix in my original post. I said the magical structure could only perceive the surface thoughts (empathic feelings) of their *builders* (the caretakers). This doesn't work and contradicts what I said later on. Here's the fix: the magical structures do indeed sense the surface thoughts of everyone, but they would only feel compelled to soothe/satisfy/fulfil those of the caretakers (and those of the very same race/clan*), to whom they are attuned. All the other thoughts become troublesome and confusing "static", a jumble of painfully disturbing feelings. In this way, the caretakers can be the ones benefiting from the magical structures, and the others be the ones likely to cause these cities to possibly go mad. Things become more logical this way.
(*) By this I mean all true Wendar elves (not Wendar humans or Alfheim elves who emigrated to Wendar)
> But hasn't this problem only started in Wendar since the Day of Dread?
> Presumably the cities of Wendar have existed prior to this - either
> it is convenient that the cities already existed in what would be problem
> areas or are new "cities" growing in Wendar.
Indeed -- the elves of Wendar had plain, old, normal cities there before the Day of Dread. When the whole idea of the magical structures, their roots, and the magical current comes up, things start getting nasty in Wendar. Old buildings have to be knocked down and replaced with the magical structures. The process becomes more frequent and forceful as the "caretakers" discover more of their science. I made a big assumption, for the sake of game design, that the original Wendarian cities just happened to be located on top of the biggest magical disturbances. Since I'm retrofitting a new concept to an established geographical map, that's unavoidable. No, at this point I would not abandon existing cities and build new ones entirely. Part of the logic behind this is that the original founders of the Wendarian cities had a premonition that guided their choices. Not a perfect solution, but at least this one works. :o)
> So were these caretakers dispersed everywhere and were they dispersed
> only among elves? The answer would seem to be yes to both as if it were
> only some creatures it might seem convenient that Wendar elves housed
> caretakers and then a couple of thousand years later the Wendar elves
> found themselves in an area where those caretakers would be needed.
I figured that finite clusters of mounds would have appeared on every continent inside and outside Mystara at the same time (so, three main groups on the surface and, what... four or five inside the Hollow World). They started out as actual clans, and eventually inter-married with other elven clans (and other races, yes).
> Another clarification - is it the caretakers themselves who have survived
> since they appeared or did they breed in with the elven population or
> ogres such as the N'djatwa or whatever.
Their bodies were simple mortal vehicles. They would have bred and reproduced normally. I want to leave this open so in the end, it does not have to be elves exclusively that would be caretakers. It could be any race that has some link with the original elven clans. Basically, the number of "spirits" that inhabit these people is the same as the original number that were created. This still poses the problem of who actually is/isn't a true caretaker within a same clan later on. In the end, I think anyone with the architectural and magical knowledge could eventually acquire the empathic abilities needed for the job, and become a true caretaker. I'd be pretty flexible about this to allow any DM to create his/her own "style" of caretakers. What this means is that the responsibility of dealing with Mystara's magical currents ultimately falls on the shoulders of the common people of Mystara, rather than spirits of nature. Am I making sense here? I chose Wendar elves to be an example of such caretakers, since they have not been developed significantly at this point, but also because they would stand as a typical example (the urban elves concept).
> Another query. I assume some of these caretakers, or their
> descendants, would have found their way into the Hollow World as from
> your description it seems that these caretakers appeared early in
> Mystaran history.
As I wrote above, I would have created clans directly inside the Hollow World -- there is nothing to prevent the "Mystaran entity" from doing this. Naturally, if you want to move some from the surface to the Hollow World, that's fine too.
This does bring up the question now -- what exactly are these "spirits of nature"... and what the heck is this Mystaran "entity"? (We can go with the idea that Mystara is a living being called Urt -- not exactly a new idea here).
> Up until now Wendar has always felt like a defensive nation - you know
> with Denagoth and all. But with the possibility of having to go into new
> areas this would alter the whole Wendar national mood.
In general, I would see Wendar as purely defensive and interested only in itself. The possibility of magical hot points extending outside the present borders of Wendar is offered only as an option for those who want it. It would definitely not happen before the present timeline.
Otherwise, there is something awesome about the image of a "modern" army of urban elves, with all the medieval trimmings that would normally be expected of... say, the Heldannic Knights. Can you see these new "elven paladins" in full military regalia? I can think of a Wendarian warrior caste (and its elven battlefield wizards) as being a direct counterpart to the Order's might in the region. If anything, it pulls Wendar out of its shell as it is forced to interact more directly with its neighbours.
> I can see them wumping all over the Heldannic Order - or maybe
> that's just me :o)
I'd use them as a potent counter-weight in the region for the Heldannic Order's ambitions. Glantri is definitely seen as a force of Chaos. Wendar, because it has a propensity to harbour many wizards (even more now) among its people, would not be seen as a potential Heldannic ally. On the other hand, they do not appear as a pawn of Chaos -- or Law for that matter. Because of what the magical structures are intended to do, which is to *balance* out magic forces in Mystara, this do stick out as being Neutral. On the other hand, if they start treating poorly non-elven races in Wendar and rise as essentially an elven power, the Heldannic Order will definitely see them as a danger, considering the attitude of the knights in general toward other races.
Wendar has enough trouble on its own to prevent them from running amok. First off, they've been a power on the defensive or at least turned inward for probably centuries, and therefore the thought of spilling out into other regions isn't just a natural one for them. They will have problems with their non-human population as the stone magic develops there, as explained in earlier posts. They still have to deal with the Denagoth issue before they can do anything else. Finally, they're stuck between Glantri, the Heldannic Ordensland, and wide open area that's favourable to either barbarian or humanoid invasions -- not to mention Denagoth itself.
> The coat of arms of Wendar, according to Karameikos: Kingdom of
> Adventure, is a pine tree - as opposed to your typical deciduous tree
> which it says is the coat of arms for Alfheim. Pretty pathetic if you
> ask me.
Indeed. Little thought was put into this. I would promptly replace with this with a "seme of tower argent over azure"! The towers would show little tree roots underneath. As an alternative, the shield could be divided with the right half showing a field of blue towers over white, and the other a gold crown (the king) with a gold star above it (the Elvenstar) over green. Of course this would be a later development to the Wendar coat of arms. :o)