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Mystaran Sliders

by Roger LV Girtman II

by John Calvin

Thanks to the Future of the Known World thread, I started thinking about Alternate Mystaras. But why limit ourselves to changing Mystara's future, when we can also change its past What would Mystara look like in the modern era if one just one major event (or even a minor one) was changed in its past?

So how many alternate Mystaras can we come up with?

Mystara Prime: This is the standard Mystara of AC 1000, as presented by the Gazetteers and other published materials.

Mystara Desertworld: In this version of Mystara, Nithian heroes prevented the decline of that nation and thanks to them Nithia never succumbed to corruption. On this version of Mystara Nithia was never removed from the surface world, and was never wiped from the memory of mortals. Unfortunately Nithian magic continued to leach life from the planet, causing the Ylari desert to continue to grow until it encompasses nearly all of southeastern Brun.

Coastal regions on Brun are the most populous areas. Though Nithia still exists in some form or another, it is not a monolithic state. Over the eons many of its slave populations have broken free to form their own kingdoms, and the Nithian population is quite fractious itself. There are several different reigning Pharaohs, each claiming portions of Brun, the Island of Dawn, Davania, and Alphatia.

The threat of Nithian corruption still exists on this world, perhaps more dangerous than ever. Should the Nithians fall, the amount of destruction they rain down upon the world could rival that of the Great Rain of Fire, sending Mystara back into the dark ages.

Mystara Orcworld: In this version of Mystara the Oenkmarian humanoids slaughtered Nithian priests and merchants who attempted to do business with them. This pleased Atzanteotle so much that rather than sinking the city of Oenkmar, he raised it on high. From their new mountain fortress the Oenkmarians began first raiding and then conquering their neighbors until there were none left to oppose them. Halflings and elves on Brun are few and far between, and those that still exist are relegated to slave status.

Nithia was never corrupted in this version of Mystara, however they never rose to the same level of greatness that they did on Mystara Prime. Most now live on the Isle of Dawn, desperately fighting off the looming Oenkmarian invasions. The Alphatian empire is strong and one of the few that can oppose Oenkmar. Small pockets of dwarves still exist on Brun, however in order to survive they have turned to old ways, embracing ancient Blackmoorian artifacts powered by the radiance.

Mystara Elfworld: The elves of this world never triggered the Blackmoorian artifact that devastated the Brokenlands circa BC 1700. Because of this, the humanoid hordes were never drawn to that area which allowed elven culture to grow and thrive unchecked. When Morcroft attacked the Sylvan Realm, rather than flee to the Know World, the elves were able to call upon brethren already well established there to come to their aid. Morkroft was overthrown and elven culture entered into a new Golden Age.

All is not well however. Though the elves never triggered the Blackmoorian device, they do know of its existence, and even use it to power many of their magical rituals. Through the artifact they have gained mastery over the Rainbow Bridge and use it to connect all elven realms across Mystara. Few elves live underground in this version of Mystara, having been enticed back to live on the surface between BC 2000 and BC 1500. No Shadow Elves exist (and thus Rafiel has not been able to create Chamber of the Spheres), but the Blackmoorian Artifact serves much the same purpose. In fact Rafiel and his priesthood have control of the device. Should a mishap occur, the entire elven civilization may be wiped out.

Mystara Deadworld: The geological upheavals in BC 1750 and BC 1720 never happened, leaving Taymora and its vampiric rulers safely above the waves. When the elven disaster occurred in BC 1700 it unleashed a torrent of death that the vampire queens were able to capitalize upon in order to expand their empire and cement their rule. The fledgling nation of Nithia was soon after crushed and the curse of lycanthropy unleashed upon the world. Elf, dwarf, giant, lizardfolk, and humanoid alike all succumbed to the power of Taymora and were incorporated into the empire.

Even as freedom fighters struggle against their undead overlords, something seethes beneath the surface. The volcanic potential that has been penned up for thousands of years may be ready to explode at any moment.

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

Great Rain of What? The Great Rain of Fire is averted. The planet never shifts on its axis, leaving much of the "western" Known World locked under kilometers of ice at Mystara's northern polar belt. Blacklore elves push returnists back to Evergrun, and begin a cultural rise of their own to rival Blackmoor in what would have become Vulcania. Because the planet does not shift, the magma veins below that continent are not destabilized, and the Blacklore elves are able to harness and tame the geothermal energy. Blacklore efforts to expand to the north are curbed by the Serpent Kingdoms.

Yannifey Unscathed. The Alphatians never make Landfall, leaving the Yannifey culture to develop on its own. The Flaem make their Landfall hundreds of years earlier. Elders of the Flaem still remember the conflict between Air and Fire (and thus, the Old Ways of the Empire). Rather than invade Traladara, Thyatis trades briskly with the different Traladaran city-states, keeping that nation as a buffer between itself and the magically powerful Braejr.

by John Calvin

Flaem Landfall: The Flaems are the Alphatians who make Landfall, while the Followers of Air emerge in small pockets in Glantri. Recognizing a common affinity in the fire loving Nithians, the Flaems quickly integrate them into their new empire. The sea faring abilities of the Nithians make the Flaem Empire a formidable force, and one that expands to other continents easily.

Thyatis exists in this world, but is hard pressed in the east, and has not expanded beyond the shores of Brun. Instead they control areas that would be Karameikos, Darokin, and Glantri. The Pearl Islands and Ochalea (which is itself greatly different) are part of the Flaem Empire. Unfortunately for the Flaems, other fire loving creatures have wormed their way into the empire. Flaems become the favorite play toys of kopru puppet masters, who finally put the empire in check with their infighting.

Sanctuary of Light (or Don't Come Here... Really!) The carnifex, and their Outer Being patrons, overthrow the Immortals and send Mystara plummeting into a nightmare realm. The Lhomarrians quickly loose their war with the scaly creatures and a ragtag band manages to find the polar openings and travel to the Hollow World. The immortals, scrambling to find some defensible position, follow the Lhomarrians into the Hollow World, and seal the polar openings for good. Many of the nations of Mystara are never formed on this world, and those few that still worship the immortals are whisked away by them to the Hollow World Sanctuary.

Over the eons the Faithful (as they are come to be known) are a constant thorn in the side of the carnifex. They make their way through secret paths in the Shadowdeep, to emerge on the surface world and strike at the Outer Being worshipers. Should they be able to piece together the ancient rituals that can bind the carnifex into a prison plane, their world might be saved.

by LoZompatore

The Overlord Colony: (from the Dragonlord trilogy books) Thelwyn Foxeyes failed to defeat the extraplanar invasion of the Overlord army around AC500. Modern day Glantri, and then the Known World, Alphatia and the whole of Mystara are conquered by the huge armies of the Overlord minions, the gemstone dragons. Chromatic dragons are exterminated and exiled, the artificial memories the Overlord gave to the Flaems are lifted and they return to their former status of slaves to the extraplanar being (they could be given a better and somewhat superior condition compared with the other human and demi-human people enslaved throughout Mystara during the Overlord's campaign). Many nonhuman races from the Overlord's armies (among them many beholders) establish themselves on Mystara, forever changing many habitats. Periodically, a draft is called up throughout the planet, enrolling hundred of thousand - if not millions - of beings for some faraway war on another world along the Overlord's conquest path.

The Beagle's Colony: Stephen Rockling manages to persuade/kill captain Bork Riesling of the stranded Beagle spaceship to start a Federation colony on Mystara. Surrounding primitive populations are conquered with military power or cultural assimilation. The Beagle's crewmen act as counselors, leaders and teachers of these "barbarians", accelerating a hundredfold their technological development. In a few decades a working hi-tech industrial base is operational on Mystara. Satellites, probes and powerful distress calls are sent into the outer space, searching for signs of the Federation. No sign was ever found, because the Beagle was sent to another Plane of existence and not just across ordinary space. A few learned and very controversial scholars start to travel to faraway, insulated tribes of the most backward people on Mystara, where some of its members claim to be able to use effective forms of "magic" that could be useful to reach untold places and realms of other universes.

by DJ Hartel

Wastelands: The great rain of fire never ended on this world causing the surface to become uninhabitable to the current life. Strange aberrations develop and run wild there. Luckily, more of the cultures at that time were able to be saved within the Hollow World. Another consequence of the wastelands is a weakened the spell of Preservation. In order to prevent the blackmoorian technomagic from destroying the Hollow World some cultures are modified to remove it. This also allows the corruption; evil city states/empires surrounding the dark towers. The hollow world states are in a never ending conflict with the corrupted ones, and whatever crawls through the earth...

by John Calvin

Oh... I like the idea of messing with immortals. Here's one that combines that along with the GRoF:

Immortal Empires: After the Great Rain of Fire, the immortals decide that their mortal followers can no longer be allowed free reign on the Prime Material Plane. They rescind the Prime Directive and begin to take direct action in the mortal realms, ruling over them directly. Unfortunately for the immortals the side effect of this action is that very few new immortals are created. Immortals who would have ascended after BC 3000 do not exist in this world.

The immortal realms are strong and lasting, but life on Mystara begins to stagnate. The Old Ones may put schemes in motion that will remove the immortals from the Prime Material, or at the very least will show them the error of their ways.

All that Glitters: Loktal's Kingdom withstands the trials of ages, and covers a good portion of southeastern Brun in this world. Having formed an alliance with the Traldar Kings to defeat the humanoids circa BC 1000, Loktal's forces are strong enough to put down the hin rebellion and the kingdom of Shaerdon never exists. Hin, elves, and humanoids become slaves of the dwarves, whose power in the region is only strengthened over time. Likewise, the Traldar Golden Age doesn't end with the beastman invasion, and king Milen and his people never leave Brun.

An unlikely alliance of halflings, elves, and orcs fights against their dwarven oppressors. Secret resistance cells exist all across the Glittering Realm, only awaiting the right time to strike and overthrow their hated masters.

Legacy of Mogreth: On this world the flood that wiped out Mogreth never happened. Rather than rushing overground and sweeping the lizardman kingdom out to sea, the waters of Lake Klintest drained underground, leaving Mogreth relatively unscathed. Nithia never rises in this world, but all is not well for Mogreth. They take Nithia's place, being wiped from the memory of mortals after their downfall into the corruption of the Outer Beings.

The result of these chain of events is that much of the Known World develops normally, with one small exception - civilized lizardmen dominate the southern islands and the eastern coast of Brun. In this world the Ylari are replaced by Mogreth descended lizardmen who populate Ylaruam, Ierendi, and Minrothad as well as certain regions in Thaytis and Darokin. On the Island of Dawn the Thothian lizardmen are all that remain of Mogreth's former glory.

by Ashtagon

No Elves! The elves never complete their migration to Alfheim, and remain in NW Brun, Serpent Peninsula, and other distant parts of Mystara. The Alfheim area is steppeland in this timeline, and is considered poor quality farmland by Darokin, whose sheep herders contend against orc raids from the north. Thyatis and Karameikos are elf-free. Similarly, Glantri and Wendar developed without elven magics, and there are no shadow elves in this timeline -- at least, not in south-eastern Brun.

by Ripvanwormer

The Scaly Kingdoms
The Carnifex Empire fails to fall on schedule and its reptilian sorcerers overwhelm the fledgling human kingdoms of Thonia and Blackmoor, establishing themselves as the peerless masters of the world. Even a great fiery cataclysm caused by Carnifex sorcerer-technologists attempting to retro-engineer a crashed starship's drive fails to unthrone the reptiles as the dominant life form on the world of Mystara.

Thousands of years later, the Known World is still ruled by the scaled ones. On the eastern coast, an emirate of dry-skinned lizard men continues the ancient traditions of the Carnifex, while to the south the vital, aggressive Thysscythic Imperium casts slaves to battle to the death in its arenas and maneuvers toward war with an empire of upstart humans, the Alphatians, who have managed to establish a small empire in the isles of the east despite competition from the Thothian lizardfolk and their spidery pharoahs on the Isle of Dawn. The Thysscythians dominate the Grand Duchy of Karrassthos, whose slimy-skinned natives resist the imperials even as some of them revere Grand Duke Sstaaven Karrassthos as the reincarnation of a legendary Carnifex ruler who defended them against mammalian beast-folk in ancient times and promised he would return in their hour of greatest need.

North of Karrassthos the merchant-lords of Darossthin contend over gold, silk, spices, narcotics, eggs, carrion, and slaves. Their republic completely surrounds an enchanted forest created by the magic of a race of mantis-like insectoids whose enchanted moths weave them cities of silk in the canopies of the trees. To the west, the spirit of a Carnifex master inhabits the body of a reptilian lord in the foreboding desert of Haaal, mustering the desert nomads for an attack on the riches of the east. Wizards of a variety of reptilian, insectoid, amphibious, and even mammalian races (including some Alphatian descendants) contend in the Principalities of Morrgharth, a mountainous realm of exotic magic built around a mysterious source of radiation. Nearby, in the Steppes of Essthengar, nomadic lizardmen ride swift-legged birds across the spirit-haunted plains.

In the Broken Lands dwell twisted horrors, creatures who are seemingly hybrids of many reptilian and insectoid species. Their king, Sssthar, has forged a semblance of order among the croaking, weeping, rasping hordes, and they may soon prove a major threat to the surrounding lands.

Besides lizardfolk of various kinds, cay-men, gatormen, tuataramen, chameleonmen, yuan-ti, iguanamen, frost and flame salamanders, geckomen, froglins, komododragonmen, and various avian creatures are all found within the Known World and its surrounding lands, replacing the mammalian creatures known on Mystara Prime. Cay-men dominate the Shirelands, while the Rock Lizard People rule the mountains between Darossthin and the Ice Lizard People of the Northern Reaches.

Rules of the World
While the Scaly Kingdoms may seem to just be a clone of Mystara Prime with humans changed to lizardmen, there are actually many differences. It's more racially diverse than Mystara Prime, with humanoid versions of most reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, and insects represented somewhere on the planet. It's morally darker than Mystara Prime, as the cold-blooded reptile people are unable to muster the compassion of mammals. Slavery is commonplace in every nation, and no one thinks anything is wrong with consuming sentient species for food. While Alphatia exists, this is not a world for mammals, and it is therefore smaller, weaker, and even more decadent than its equivalent on Mystara Prime. In order to compete with reptiles, the Alphatians have adopted many of their mores and values; they dress in scaled clothing and use their magic to create deplorable drugs to sell to wealthy reptiles as they laze about in the sun. Even in their own lands they are forced to grant nobility to magically talented reptiles, avians, and amphibians, who hold seats in their council and have even occasionally ruled as emperors and empresses in past dynasties (though their current empress, Eriadna, is human). The Alphatians of the Scaly Kingdoms routinely practice cannibalism on their muggle slaves and, despite their magic, are viewed with contempt by all other nations as presumptuous members of a race on par with hated disease-carrying and egg-devouring rats and mice. Some of the Alphatian descendants in Morrgharth are infected with a form of lycanthropy that allows them to shapeshift to reptilian form, and the initiates of the Order of the Dragon, able to shapeshift into draconic shape, are supreme among mammals. Vampires and liches, in comparison, are of only lowly status there.

by Geoff Gander

The Lake of Dawn

In this alternate Mystara, the only divergence is that the Bridge of Oost never sinks into the Sea of Dawn. Consequently, what we know as the Isle of Dawn remains a peninsula of Brun. As a result, the water currents in what we know as the Western Sea of Dawn remain unchanged - the flow circles clockwise rather than continuing up the Norwold coast, creating a region that is wetter than on Mystara Prime. As a result, even after Mogreth falls and Nithia is obliterated by the Immortals, the coastal regions of the Alasiyan Basin receive more rain. A swath of mixed light forest exists on the coast, and grasslands for another 20-30 miles inland. The deep interior, however, is still a desert (due to the work of the Immortals).

Without the warmer currents from the south, the climates of Heldann and Norwold are more severe. The coasts are colder and drier, making agriculture more difficult. Populations are not as high in these regions as they are on Mystara Prime; however, the Bridge of Oost makes the north less accessible to southerners by boat. A consequence of this is that the Nithians never encountered the Antalians, or took slaves to their colonies in Davania, where they would one day become the Thyatians. Instead, the lands of Thyatis are contested by indigenous Neathar tribes, a handful of Traldar (or Doulakki, if you use them) city-states, Alasiyans, and a scattering of decadent Taymorans and organised lizard man strongholds.

Alphatian Landfall still takes place, and the newcomers settle the Dawn Peninsula over time. Without Thyatian piracy to stir them, Alphatian expansion into the Known World is much slower, but some explorers poke around Nithian and Taymoran ruins, which draws the empire's attention by AC 500. For the most part southeastern Brun is considered to be a barbaric land - suitable for acquiring slaves and unearthing the odd artefact, but little more. It does, however, become a convenient haven for Alphatian outlaws, rebels, and their ilk - a place where someone with decent magical talent can carve themselves a dominion of their own and lord it over the locals. A few petty local states arise.

All of the other Known World nations exist in this version except Ierendi (which is a patchwork of petty fiefdoms), Ylaruam (which, in the absence of Thyatian and Alphatian colonial oppressors, never had reason to unite under Suleiman Al-Kalim), and the Northern Reaches (see below). With no Hattians, the Heldannic Order was never formed, and so Heldann remains a land of independent freeholds.

Another key difference is that the Bridge of Oost contains a number of dwarf holdings - survivors of the Shimmering Lands. These dwarves have been rejected by their cousins in Rockhome, and vicious wars have erupted in the contested lands between Oost and Rockhome. Consequently, few people live in what we know as the Northern Reaches.

by John Calvin

I love this one as well Seer! Just one little change can make all the difference in the world! Here are some alternates to your alternate

Lake of Dawn - B: In this world the dwarves of the Shimmering Lands prevented the destruction of the Gate of Light. Kagyar reshaped the dwarves which allowed them to survive the effects of the artifact, but their neighbors still suffered the ill effects of the radiance poisoning that emanated from it. All of Oost and much of the surrounding lands (including portions of the Northern Reaches, Ethengar, Darokin, and Ylaruam) have become twisted and corrupted by the Wasting disease. Most people have fled these regions, and the dwarves are universally feared and hated. Spirits haunt this part of the world, and have become so numerous that they have created nations of their own.

Lake of Dawn - C: In this world, Kagyar never took notice of the dwarves, and their activities quickly lead to the decline of their race. After poisoning themselves with the radiance for centuries the dwarven species was fast approaching extinction. Many dwarves turned to the art of soulforging - placing their own souls into artificial bodies constructed of stone and precious metals. In time these soulforged were all that was left of the dwarven race. Now even the soulforged dwindle, with their citadels on Oost becoming few and far between. Those that are left have finally banded together with the goal of rebuilding the ancient Bridge of Light. Should they succeed they may be able to draw forth ancient dwarven spirits and attempt to replenish their numbers with newly created soulforged.

by Geoff Gander

Empires of the Red Sun

In this version, everything occurs as it does on Mystara Prime with one exception: the Spell of Preservation did not work as intended.

Ka and his associates had the best of intentions when they created the Hollow World, but they had no idea other forces (Immortal or otherwise) became aware of their plans, and twisted them to their own purposes. The full extent of the sabotage only became known several centuries after the first cultures had been transplanted. While the Spell of Preservation did prevent a culture from being completely destroyed, and instilled a cultural bias, it did not lock the culture in stasis. Thus, transplanted cultures continued to develop – albeit at a slower rate – after their arrival in the Hollow World.

At first Ka thought this an aberration, but when it became clear that the transplanted cultures were continuing to evolve he tried to intervene. He immersed himself deeply in the ambient magic of Mystara, and disappeared.

In the millennia since Ka’s disappearance other Immortals have tried to modify the Spell of Preservation to make it act as originally intended, with no success. Even the Hierarchs could do nothing. All the while, a handful of cultures in the Hollow World continued to expand, conquering their neighbours (though never annihilating them) and advancing. By AC 1000, the entire Hollow World has fallen under the control of three or four vast empires – each of which with thousands of years of development behind them.

These empires have become aware of the surface world, and their spies have brought news of a vast world, filled with resources and occupied by dozens of petty, squabbling nations. Alliances have been forged and armies have been mustered, while the peoples of the surface go about their lives, unaware that their world has been partitioned.

When the invasion occurs, thousands of soldiers will literally surge from the ground in countless locations, armed with weapons and spells unknown to their enemies. Truly a time for heroes!

by Ripvanwormer

The Brutal World: In this world the Gentle Folk that settled the Five Shires of Mystara Prime never existed. In their place were the Brutal Folk, a barbarous race of elves dedicated to bloodthirsty conquest above all other things. And conquer they did, crushing the Traladarans, the Thyatians, the ancestors of the people of Darokin, and all others who opposed them. By the present day, in all the Known World only the Atruaghin Clans (ignored on their isolated plateau), the dwarves in their caves, the Flaem in their mountains, and the people of the cold north and inhospitable desert are free from the Brutal Empire of the elves. Even orcs, goblins, bugbears and ogres are slaves of the elves, used as cannon fodder and cheap labor. Rebels of the Beastman-descended races make common cause with human rebels, both seeing themselves as equally oppressed beneath the silent but still heavy elven boot. Of all the non-elven races, only the hin are treated with anything like respect by the elves. The halflings who settled in the Brutal Lands treated the elves with awe, seeking to imitate them in word and deed. After centuries of disdain, the elves were gradually won over by the eagerness of the hinfolk, who sometimes managed to surpass even the elven lords with their cruel ways. In the present age the hin represent a lesser aristocracy in the Brutal Empire, considered to be superior to other races as long as they give the elven masters the respect they're due. Across the oppressed lands, halflings act as self-important bureaucrats, wealthy merchants, and slavemasters, keeping the more lowly peoples in line with whips, magic items, and the blackflame that even the elf-lords don't understand. If a revolution comes, the hin will either face the brunt of the slaves' initial fury or they will find themselves leading it, using the arts they've developed in secret to launch a coup against the distant elven aristocracy. For it seems the elves may have taught the hin too well...

The Gentle World: This one's the opposite of the last one. The pacifistic philosophy of the Gentle Folk of this Mystara took root among other peoples, spreading across the known world. Within a few centuries war had become a thing of the past. Violence was never wiped out completely, but large-scale conflict became an abhorrent thing among all peoples, from the orcs of Thar to the nomads of Hule to the councils of far Alphatia. Civilization blossomed, the efforts of sages and magic-users going toward alleviating poverty and improving public health and sanitation rather than coming up with more effective ways to kill. While not quite a utopia (democracy, alas, has not yet proven popular, and the world is not yet free of dangers that have nothing to do with war), this version of Mystara counts as a beacon of light in the continuum. Some of the Immortals of Entropy are very displeased with this development, and it's noted that natural disasters, eldritch weather, curses, undead, baleful weapons from the distant past, and other calamities are on the rise. In the Bad Magic Zones in Alfheim, portals from more violent worlds are being opened. In the Principalities of Glantri the peace dividend has led to accelerated research into the Radiance, resulting in the force of magic being threatened even as the force of entropy rises.

by John Calvin

Empire of the Plateau: In this world the Great Plateau never crumbled circa BC 1750. The descendants of the Azcans (Intua) living in and nearby the Plateau continued to prosper and watch their newly emerging kingdom grow into a vast empire. Because of the presence of a strong human empire in the region (both above and below the surface) several major events in the area are altered. King Loark and his humanoid tribe is repulsed, and humanoids never manage to settle the Broken Lands in great numbers (although that territory remains a dark and dangerous place). Glantrian elves still manage to set off a Blackmoorian artifact, however the elves that flee underground are met by strong resistance from the Inti, and never manage to establish a foothold in the Shadowdeep. Neither Atraughin, Atzanteotle, nor any of the "Atraughin Clan" immortals ever attain immortality. The cities of Aengmore and Mictlan are thriving underground metropolises that remain firmly under the grasp of Intua.

The regions that would have one day become Darokin, the Shires, and Karameikos are all eventually conquered by Intua, but the real struggle is not fought by nations of the surface. Corruption exists in the undead kings of Intua who continue to rule portions of the nation even after being mummified. They seek a way to end the Empire of the Sun on the surface world, once again forcing all life to flee beneath the surface.

Hin of Taymora: The hin make their journey across the Sea of Dread nearly 1000 years earlier than in the normal timeline, arriving on the coast of Brun during the rise of Taymora (circa BC 2300). They are absorbed into the fledgling culture, and quickly come to dominate it. When Taymora sinks beneath the waves, the hin culture is shattered, but the hin themselves survive and come to dominate the southern coast of Brun. Hin populations make up most of the Shires, Ierendi, Karameikos, and portions of Thyatis and Darokin.

The hin of this world are nothing like their Mystara Prime counterparts however. Forever shaped and tainted by Taymora, they are a dark and brooding people. The evil of Ancient Taymora lives on through them, and several hin vampire lords vie for dominance among the nations of the Known World.

by Ashtagon

Minrothad Sea Wolves: In this timeline, 550 years ago the lycanthrope plagues that ravaged their lands became not so much plagues as insurrections. The elf colonies were wiped out, and the entire human population was infected with various strains of lycanthropy. The nation eventually established itself on clan/guild lines, with each clan coming to dominate one or more industries. They stayed neutral in the Alphatian-Thyation wars of 500 AC. Halflings and dwarves never migrated to the islands. Without the help of the elves, they never developed the advance merchant prince magics.

Immigration is strictly controlled, and the existence of lycanthropy at every level of government is strictly controlled secret. officially, all lycanthropes are a regrettable menace to society that the nation is fighting an internal war with. This "struggle" justifies the need to control immigration. Only those who have proven themselves able to control their animalistic urges while transformed are permitted to act as guild factors in foreign harbours. A continuing government plot involves infecting junior members of foreign noble houses and merchant families. Those who prove capable are inducted into guild affairs as sleeper agents; those who prove incapable are quietly abandoned to their fate.

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

Grand Duchy of... Gnollistan: Halav is defeated in battle against the Beast Man King... but the gnoll survives, and his troops do not break and the invading horde overruns the humans' positions in another few years. Except for a few pockets of survivors along the cost, and holed up in a valley in the Black Peaks, all that is left of the nation of Traldar are the Domani, led away by Zirchev. The Callarii elves settle the deeper forests of western Karameikos, but the brutal gnolls surrounding their territories keep the elven population little bigger than it was when they arrived via the Rainbow Bridge. Gnolls eventually discover and fall to worship the three hags of the Dymrak Woods -- beings rumored to be of ancient Taymora. The hags decree that the few humans left in the Traldar Wildlands shall be left alone, save for those harvested for their autumn and spring rituals, and those needed for "research."

Rather than invading Traladara Gnollistan, the Thyatians spend their efforts pushing north along the coast of Brun, making the shores of Norwold an even hotter area of contention with Alphatia...

by Geoff Gander

Antalia the Mighty!

In this timeline, Loark’s horde is repulsed, and destroyed, by the Antalians in 1722 BC. As a result, their culture never descends into a dark age. With their iron age technology, the Antalians expand southwards and westwards from their homeland in southern Norwold and modern Heldann. Few cultures withstand the attacks of the battle-hardened warriors, and thousands are reduced the thraldom. The nascent Kingdom of Nithia puts up a spirited resistance, but it, too, falls to the northern hordes.

By 1000 BC, the Antalians rule a swath of territory running from the Great Bay to Hattias, and as far west as Lake Amsorak. They also hold much of the western and northern Isle of Dawn, and holdings exist on Qeodhar and the Yannivey Islands, and the Alphatian coast west of the Kerothar Range. However, while numerous the Antalians are divided into dozens of jarldoms – some of which frequently feud with their neighbours. The Alphatians (who were contacted by a ragged band of Nithian spellcasters hiding in the Altan Tepes Range) take quick notice of this fact when they make Landfall.

The Antalians try to goad the Yanifey into attacking the newcomers, but the Alphatians (having sized up the situation, and knowing that the Yanifey are frequent victims of Antalian raids) promise the Yanifey the entire Isle of Dawn if they side with them. The Yanifey kingdoms, aided by Alphatian spellcasters, make short work of the Antalian colonies on the Alphatian coast, and invade Qeodhar as well. The Alphatians, satisfied that their new homeland is secure, attack a few Antalian strong points on the Isle of Dawn, but leave the heavy fighting to their Yanifey allies.

Owing to their fragmented state, the embattled Antalian jarldoms on the Isle of Dawn receive little organised aid from their mainland cousins. By 700 BC, only the regions of what is now Caerdwicca and Redstone remain in Antalian hands. It is then that the Alphatians move against the Yanifey, and expel them from their old homeland. The Alphatians use their skyships to convince their allies that they should be content with their new homeland. With an entire subcontinent to themselves, the Alphatians withdraw behind their Yanifey buffer-state.

The centuries since that time have seen numerous short, intense wars erupt between the Yanifey and the Antalians, with the Western Sea of Dawn as their main battleground. At times the Antalians unify under a charismatic jarl and mount a massive invasion to retake the Isle of Dawn, and the Alphatians intervene if it seems their Yanifey shield is about to fail. Each time this happens, horrific magics are unleashed. Otherwise, the Known World is divided among a large number of Antalian realms – some organised as kingdoms comparable to Vestland, others little more than reavers’ dens.

Alfheim (which is largely isolationist), Glantri (which is trying, unsuccessfully so far, to convince the Antalians to help it oppose Alphatia), Rockhome, and Sind (which trades with the Northmen) exist in this timeline. Some jarldoms raid Atruaghin territory for thralls.

The hin still migrated to Brun, and the Antalians quickly found out that the short folk made very rebellious thralls. Before long, wiser jarls decided it was better to let the hin work the land and fill their larders, and rule over them lightly. Hin communities can be found in what we know as the Five Shires, southern Karameikos, Hattias, and the island realms.

A key difference in this timeline is that the Nithians never expanded to the Isle of Dawn (no Thothia), the Savage Coast (no cultural or magical legacies there), or the north (no Antalian slaves to transport to Davania, where they would become the Thyatians). The Traldar did exist, but they were forced to flee the Antalians rather than Nithian-bred gnolls. As a result, the Milenian Empire did rise and fall as per the standard Mystaran timeline.

Some of the more sophisticated Antalian realms have turned their considerable sailing prowess towards exploration and trade. Massive knarrs ferry goods as far as northern Davania (where they trade with some city-states), Yavdlom, and the Minaean coast.