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by Christopher Richard Davies

To understate things, GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri made up for the small number of characters in GAZ2. However, it began to take the series in some unfortunate directions. First, there was the placement of the events of X2 Castle Amber in the past of the setting, making it unusable in a way that future-set adventures, like X4, X5, and X10, were not. Secondly, it began the trend of focusing on the addition of new character options, like the secret schools. In a way, this made the Gazetteers the first splatbooks, with all the positives and negatives that implies. Last and not least, it added some absurdist elements to the setting. I have no problems with absurdist fantasy -- the Discworld novels are some of my favourite books of all time -- but I don't think these additions meshed well with the generally "straight" tone of most of the rest of the series.

[*] As of 1000 AC, the D'Ambrevilles are still imprisoned in Castle Amber's extradimensional "pocket". Travellers who pass near the castle's former location tend to get drawn into it, and thus far all of them have met various unpleasant fates. The other princes are all well aware of these disappearances, though not what causes them, and some of the more unprincipled among them have used them as a way to get rid of inconvenient underlings. Because of their imprisonment, the D'Ambrevilles have not yet had the opportunity to "assist the passage of other spell-casters from their world to this." Thus, the allies of the House of Sylaire -- Malachie du Marais, Gilles Grenier, Diane de Moriamis, Genevieve de Sephora -- are not yet present either.

[*] Despite occasional rumours, the nobles of the House of Crownguard are not from the same extradimensional world as the D'Ambrevilles. Their ancestors came to Glantri from the Isle of Dawn (specifically the modern dominions of Westrourke and Caerdwicca) in the great wave of immigration in the eighth century. The enduring grudge between the McGregors and the D'Ambrevilles does have its origin in the accidental disruption of a portal to the D'Ambrevilles' homeworld; a confused story of this event has become common folklore, leading to the rumours of the Klantyrians' supposed extradimensional nature.

[*] Occasionally, historians have wondered why it took nearly fourteen hundred years for the Followers of the Flame, or Flaems, to arrive on Mystara, when the Followers of the Air arrived on the world within a few weeks of their homeworld's destruction. The answer given to historians, when the Flaems are in an expansive mood, involves complicated dimensional passages that resulted in the Flaems passing through centuries as though they were minutes. These answers are fascinating to those of the arcane mentality, utterly boring to anyone else, and complete fabrications. The Flaems are not simply the Followers of the Flame who were present on Old Alphatia; their origins are far more complicated.

The few members of the Followers of the Flame who survived the war that tore apart their world quickly abandoned any allegiance to elemental principles in the face of their immediate need for survival at any cost. They soon became a group of pirates who terrorised the other states of the Star Kingdoms -- the realms of Belthar, Gammar and Delthar. The interweaving patterns of allegiance and betrayal among these realms and the pirates who preyed on them could fill a book the size (and tone) of War and Peace. During one period of covert allegiance between the pirates and the magocratic realm of Gammar, one particular family of the pirates came to live in that realm as part of a cultural exchange. They chose to study and practice fire magic -- almost certainly by coincidence.

Even after the alliance between Gammar and the pirates collapsed, these neo-Flaems remained on Gammar, attempting to seize power there on several occasions. The last straw came when they betrayed Gammar to Delthar during a war fought around 390 AC. For this treason, they were exiled from the Star Kingdoms, and since no other realm would take them, they followed the path of the vanished Alphatians to Mystara, emerging in Glantri. Needless to say, the descendants of the Flaems would take extreme exception if their true history became widely known.

[*] The Belcadiz elves, as mentioned in an earlier article, do not have a Tree of Life. Exactly how they have adapted to life without such a relic is known only to the elders of the clan, but it may have something to do with the high number of "half-elves" who are members of the clan, including Don Fernando de Casanegra and others. It's just one of a number of mysteries about the clan, including their connection, if any, to the peoples of the western coast of the Gulf of Hule, who have a very similar culture. The Belcadiz elves do not welcome inquiries into their mysteries any more than the Flaems.

[*] The current Prince of the House of Ritterburg is Prince Jaggar von Drachenfels -- who is not the "stern, upright military wizard" sometimes described. (That is his eldest son and heir, Sir Jaggar the Younger.) Prince Jaggar affects a grandfatherly manner that covers his sharp and opinionated nature. Even moreso than the typical Glantrian prince, he believes that only wizards are worthy of respect -- wizards, not spell-casters in general. He is also rumoured to be quite ill, and has stubbornly refused to seek out help from a healer. The title of Prince may soon be passed to his heir. Sir Jaggar and his wife, Frau Gertrud, have a son of their own, Sigmund von Drachenfels, a student at the Great School of Magic.

[*] In game terms, each of the Princes of Glantri should be a 20th level practitioner of an arcane character class -- whether that is a wizard, warlock, swordmage or other arcane class. Furthermore, the majority of them have followed a paragon path, and possess the powers thereof as well.[1] Princess Carnelia, for example, is a 20th level swordmage who has mastered the paragon path known as the Rapier School of Belcadiz (mechanically equivalent to the Coronal Guard paragon path). Prince Etienne D'Ambreville, on the other hand, was perhaps the most powerful wizard that Glantri has ever seen, a 30th level wizard who had mastered the Radiant Mage paragon path before becoming an Archmage; he was also close to completing his Destiny Quest and becoming an Immortal when imprisoned.

[*] A number of societies described in the Gazetteer either don't exist at all (the Boldavian Liberation Organisation, the Canine Protection Society, and the Free Fundamentalist Farmers) or don't exist under the names given for them (the Erewan Liberation Front, the Free Anachronistic Society of Aalban, the Free Armed Elven Resistant Youth[2], and the People's Spell-Caster's Company). The Thousand Fists of the Khan exists, and is banned, as are a number of other religions, like the Eternal Truth.

But religion in general is not illegal in Glantri. It is not supported by the nation -- by law, no dominion ruler can pay a regular tithe to any religious movement -- but that has not stopped various organisations from establishing themselves in Glantri (particularly in the city) where they are supported by "voluntary" donations from the faithful. Furthermore, clerics and paladins suffer a number of restrictions on their activities in the Principalities. They cannot be employed in any official capacity by the government, can be denied permission to cross any border by the border guards without any more excuse than their profession, and must at all times display their holy symbols in an open manner.

[*] A note of historical interest: It is widely believed that Halzunthram was executed after he was captured by Lord Alexander Glantri. Very few people know that he wasn't killed out of hand, but rather cast into the Elemental Chaos, using a Flaemish portal. Even they don't know that he survived, and somehow made his way to the world of Gammar, where he rose to become that realm's current ruler. Most likely, he is too consumed with his ambitions in the Star Kingdoms to give a thought to the world he left behind ... but he has neither forgiven nor forgotten those who defeated him, and so Glantrian voyagers in the Star Kingdom should be very, very careful.

[*] The future of the Principalities, barring PC intervention -- which is the only way that the D'Ambrevilles will get out of their mess -- will see them initially try to stay out of the war between Darokin and the Desert Nomads, only to be drawn in somewhat unwillingly when the Nomads don't respect their neutrality. Their eventual assistance to Darokin helps to turn the war in the Republic's favour, though only after many lives have been lost.

Even without Rad's activities, Alphatian interests in the region are likely to provoke a war between these two magical nations, though later rather than sooner. Regardless of Immortal meddling, Thyatis and the Vanyan-dominated Heldannic Territories will probably come to Glantri's assistance out of their own interests. The destruction of Alphatia, brought about by the Nexus of the Spheres, can as easily happen by accident (possibly when an inexperienced member of the Brotherhood tries to use it for some other purpose) as deliberate action. This in turn will increase the interests of the powers of Entropy in the region, leading to the activities of Synn, daughter of the Night Dragon. As a result, by mid-century Glantri will be well on its way to being a nation of horrors.


[1] For obvious reasons, exact details about this will have to wait until I have access to Arcane Power. The same is true of the Radiant Mage paragon path.

[2] Do people actually find this kind of thing funny? I worry about people sometimes ... anyway, given that acronyms didn't become common until the 20th century, it's ridiculous for them to exist in a late medieval setting like Glantri.