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Wrath of the Immortals: what happens and why is it controversial?

dead

First Post
I own most BECMI adventures and was thinking of hunting down the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set. Can someone please tell me the basic events that happen in it?

Also, why has it divided the Mystara community?

All I know is that it has something to do with Blackmoor (as presented in modules DA1-4) and its high-tech technology and something to do with a "Nucleus of the Spheres" that the Immortals are fighting over?

Is this Nucleus of the Spheres like some kind of nuclear reactor or something?
 

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crazy_monkey1956

First Post
Spoilers follow...

I don't remember all the specifics, but amongst other things, a meteor crashes in to Darokin and Alphatia sinks (though it resurfaces, pun intended, in the Hollow World).
 

I suspect the controversy is that it's a "Realms Changing Event", that was very popular back then.

Another thing that occurs:

The Shadow Elves sicken the Alfheim trees and take over the country.

As to your other question:

Yes, the Nucleus of Spheres is a nuclear reactor turned artifact.
 

rogueattorney

Adventurer
The issue is one of the Giant Campaign Changing Event that TSR did so much of back in the late 80's and 90's. I personally hated them for a number of reasons, and in particular, I thought the changes wrought to Mystara were for the worse.

I'll admit that I do not entirely remember which of the following were in the Wrath of the Immortals box and which were in the subsequent Almanacs, but largely they were part and parcel of the same thread which all started with the WotI boxed set:

The continent of Alphatia was destroyed on the surface world and it re-appeared as a floating continent in the Hollow World.

Alfhiem was taken over by the Shadow Elves and all the trees of the forest withered an died.

Karameikos proclaimed its complete independence from Thyatis and was re-christened a kingdom.

Thyatis' empire crumbled and many of its subject nations proclaimed independence

A giant asteroid hit in northern Darokin/southern Glantri, significantly altering the terrain of both nations.

After an unsuccessful invasion of Rockhome, King Thar was deposed by King Kol (later Prince Kol) who led a bunch of Broken Land humanoids into the "great crater" and began to interfere with Glantri politics.

Clerics were allowed into Glantri.

The nuclear reactor under Glantri which "sucked magic" was altered to "suck entropy."

The Heldannic Knights completely took over the Heldan Freeholds and a big chunk of Norwald.

The "Red Curse" in the western lands spread significantly, effecting nations that had not previously been effected.

There was more that I'm forgetting. Essentially, every significant region on the map was changed in a major way.

I could go into a litany of the reasons why I think a lot of these changes were bad in specific, and why I think big, company produced mega-plots are bad in general, but won't. Suffice it to say, changes of that magnitude necessarily divides a fan-base between those who like the earlier stuff and those who like the new stuff.
 



rogueattorney

Adventurer
Was it meant as a brigde to the not-missed AD&D Mystara?

I don't think so. It came out in 1992, about a year after the Black Box Basic set and the Rules Cyclopedia came out. A few years ago, Bruce Heard relatively famously disclosed the planned product list for the RC version of Mystara through 1995 before D&D was essentially scrapped as a supported game line mid-way through 1993 and Mystara was transitioned to 2e in 1994. (To be canceled in 1995, with the Savage Coast/Red Curse area getting a brief 'Net only revival as a 2e product in 1996.)

The Princess Ark boxed set was combined with the Sind gazetteer to make the Champions of Mystara boxed set, the campaign world's swan song with the D&D rules. And some of the proposed Red Steel stuff found its way into the Red Steel products (and again a year later in the Savage Coast products). But the vast majority of the proposed products - the Blackmoor stuff, the city supplements, the Wendar and Heldann gazetteers, etc. - never came out in any form.

I know conspiracy theorists point to the various 2e conversion notes appearing in Known World products going back to 1990 or so and the Beginner/Challenger split of the D&D line which, from the outside at least, looked practically designed to sabotage the D&D brand. But I think this may have been more about TSR incoherence than any grand plan.
 


dead

First Post
Thanks, everyone.

I found this on the Vaults of Pandius site that covers the events of the Wrath of the Immortals:

Phase I - The Prelude
Immortals of the Sphere of Energy discovered that the powers the Glantrian artifact provides to wizards drains magical energy to the point where magic's very existence on Mystara may be threatened. These Immortals decide to intervene and conspire to destroy the artifact. Their scheme would break an age-old pact with the other Spheres that forbade any direct involvement with the affairs of mortals. This causes a catastrophic schism in the Immortals' pantheon.

The spiritual patron of the Glantrian wizards, Etienne d'Ambreville (see d'Ambreville in the previous Chapter) adamantly opposes the artifact's destruction. It is his conviction that the time of magic has passed on Mystara and that it should yield before true science and technology. Magic should be reserved to Immortals only. For this reason he opposes the artifact's destruction. His opponents form the Ring of Fire, a loose alliance set against d'Ambreville and the artifact. In response, d'Ambreville establishes the Fellowship of the Star, an alliance with several other Immortals opposed to direct intervention among mortals. The two factions run into a stalemate. They cannot defeat each other and decide to fight the conflict down at mortal level.

Phase II - The Build-Up
The Immortals start building up their forces, trying to increase the number of their followers - the more followers, the more power to the Immortals and their causes. This leads to a fierce race for magical power. One after another, states, kingdoms, and empires fall under the control of an Immortal. Adventurers are sent on quests benefiting one faction of Immortals over another. Immortals of the fifth sphere (Entropy) so far remained quiet. They secretly and systematically help weaker factions. Their plan is to ensure no faction gets a cheap victory, since Entropy feed upon misery and destruction. These Immortals are known as the Brotherhood of the Shadow.

Phase III - The Great War
Immortals assembled large forces of mortal followers. Raids and local wars break out. Soon the conflict degenerates into massive campaign wars (Alphatia clashes with Thyatis, the Orcs of Thar invade Darokin, the Shadow Elves seize Alfheim, and Ethengar plunders the Northern Realms, etc). The Brotherhood of the Shadow causes conflicts to be as devastating as possible according to their plan, and quietly keeps switching sides. The Brotherhood of the Shadow becomes the leading faction.

Phase IV - The Aftermath
At the end however, the Brotherhood of the Shadow openly sides with d'Ambreville and his allies, hoping to ruin an all out attempt from the Ring of Fire to destroy the artifact.

The Ring of Fire rallies the Thousand Archmages of Alphatia and throws them against Glantri. Their bold move succeeds and the artifact is neutralised.

Although not destroyed, the artifact no longer drains magical power from Mystara. Instead, it feeds upon the evil powers of Entropy's grimmer fiends, vampires, liches, and other servitors of darkness, greatly weakening the Immortals of Entropy in the process. With fear, they now sense their possible doom in centuries to come.

Alas, the cost of the battle remains very dear to many. The Alphatian archmages are destroyed in their assault of Glantri. They were the source of an arcane power upon which Alphatia was built, and their demise causes the destruction of the arcane empire. With horror, the wizards see Alphatia's mainland sink into the cold Sea of Dawn.

Unbeknownst to mortals in the Known World, the Wizard Empire becomes a floating continent in the Hollow World, while its remaining colonies fall under Thyatian occupation.

Etienne's Immortal soul is trapped in the artifact and corrupted. He becomes a minion of the Sphere of Entropy, along with all his followers in the Brotherhood of the Radiance.

Glantri is ravaged by the war, becomes a pawn of darkness, and sinks into a dark age. Glantri and the Orcs of Thar become the new threat against mighty Thyatis. In the mean time, the face of the Known World has forever changed.

I imagine there would be some controversy about the high-tech stuff in Mystara too. A nuclear reactor from a crashed space ship that the Immortals are fighting over might be too much for some who appreciate more traditional fantasy.
 

havard

Explorer
I imagine there would be some controversy about the high-tech stuff in Mystara too. A nuclear reactor from a crashed space ship that the Immortals are fighting over might be too much for some who appreciate more traditional fantasy.

This is part of so many products, including the widely loved Gaz3, but at the same time it is an element which is pretty easy to ignore. I toyed with the idea of replacing the Radience with an old Nithian Pyramid, linking it to the Nithian era rather than Blackmoor for instance...

Havard
 

Mika

First Post
By the way -- going by the Poor Wizard's Almanacs, the Aftermath section given above contains numerous inaccuracies in regard to later events. Was this aftermath as published in Wrath of the Immortals or from elsewhere? I haven't looked at that part of Wrath of the Immortals in a while, but I would be surprised if there was such a radical difference between the original post-Wrath plan and what was actually published in the almanacs -- at the very least I would have expected to see some fan debate over the discrepancies.

The most notable differences seem to be:

1) The remains of the Alphatian Empire did not ultimately fall under Thyatian control -- the Alphatians were actually able to pull things together and start a second empire out of what remained on the surface. Thyatis, after dealing with severe internal problems, barely recovered those parts of its empire that had broken away or been conquered during the war.

2) Glantri a threat to Thyatis? Allied with the Orcs of Thar? Etienne a minion of Entropy? Glantri was a darker place, true, but it was more threatened than a threat to others.
 

rogueattorney

Adventurer
By the way -- going by the Poor Wizard's Almanacs, the Aftermath section given above contains numerous inaccuracies in regard to later events. Was this aftermath as published in Wrath of the Immortals or from elsewhere? I haven't looked at that part of Wrath of the Immortals in a while, but I would be surprised if there was such a radical difference between the original post-Wrath plan and what was actually published in the almanacs -- at the very least I would have expected to see some fan debate over the discrepancies.

The most notable differences seem to be:

1) The remains of the Alphatian Empire did not ultimately fall under Thyatian control -- the Alphatians were actually able to pull things together and start a second empire out of what remained on the surface. Thyatis, after dealing with severe internal problems, barely recovered those parts of its empire that had broken away or been conquered during the war.

2) Glantri a threat to Thyatis? Allied with the Orcs of Thar? Etienne a minion of Entropy? Glantri was a darker place, true, but it was more threatened than a threat to others.

I think the end of WotI leaves a very weak Thyatia in control of many of the former Alphatian provinces, and that many of the the timelines in the Almanacs deal with the rebellions of the Alphatian provinces, as well as a number of the Thyatis' outlying areas - Pearl Islands, Ochalea, the Hinterlands, etc. I could be wrong though. It's been so long since I've read any of this, though. I think the 2014 Almanac left Thyatis in bad shape and a united Known World Alphatia being contacted by the Hollow World Alphatia.

There was some threads in the Almanacs' timelines that had Kol becoming a prince of Glantri and Syn, the Night Dragon, gaining a bunch of power there. But allied with the orcs? Etienne a minion of Entroy? Search me. I never saw the 2e adventure, Mark of Amber. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Regardless, the net effect of WotI was to sink a continent, blow a hole into another continent, and change the fundamental nature of two of the main pc homelands - Karameikos and Glantri. Karameikos changed from a fledgling duchy on the brink of racial and religious civil war to a fairly prosperous and powerful kingdom. Glantri lost its main leader, had its southern quarter blown to bits, and with the introduction of clerics, became much more of a bog standard D&D setting.
 

Mika

First Post
I think the end of WotI leaves a very weak Thyatia in control of many of the former Alphatian provinces, and that many of the the timelines in the Almanacs deal with the rebellions of the Alphatian provinces, as well as a number of the Thyatis' outlying areas - Pearl Islands, Ochalea, the Hinterlands, etc. I could be wrong though. It's been so long since I've read any of this, though. I think the 2014 Almanac left Thyatis in bad shape and a united Known World Alphatia being contacted by the Hollow World Alphatia.

There was some threads in the Almanacs' timelines that had Kol becoming a prince of Glantri and Syn, the Night Dragon, gaining a bunch of power there. But allied with the orcs? Etienne a minion of Entroy? Search me. I never saw the 2e adventure, Mark of Amber. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Regardless, the net effect of WotI was to sink a continent, blow a hole into another continent, and change the fundamental nature of two of the main pc homelands - Karameikos and Glantri. Karameikos changed from a fledgling duchy on the brink of racial and religious civil war to a fairly prosperous and powerful kingdom. Glantri lost its main leader, had its southern quarter blown to bits, and with the introduction of clerics, became much more of a bog standard D&D setting.

I was looking just at the official Poor Wizard's Almanacs by TSR -- obviously they can't be held accountable for what others came up with later in the later unofficial Mystaran Almanacs, for good or for ill. I do have Mark of Amber -- without giving too much away, it definitely contradicts the idea of Etienne d'Ambreville becoming a minion of Entropy. The WotI adventure book's "Year 1,010 and Afterwards" gives a summary that is compatible with the almanacs -- the "Aftermath" section above is not what is written there.

But yes, the changes to the setting were rather severe -- to the point that it could not possible settle back down to anything stable before 1030 AC or so.
 

havard

Explorer
But yes, the changes to the setting were rather severe -- to the point that it could not possible settle back down to anything stable before 1030 AC or so.


If you are going to change things, you might as well make the changes severe.

Still, this is a fantasy setting we are talking about. If the players are set on it, there is no reason not to have changing everything back possible, should the players want to.

I am certainly planning on having Alfheim restored and Alphatia return to the surface eventually.

My main beef with WotI and the products set after it, is rather the changes that "fixed" problems of the AC1000 era, but failed to replace them with other situations. For instance, if the Black Eagle has been removed from Karameikos and Clerics are allowed in Glantri, how does that make the setting more interesting?

Havard
 

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