Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

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Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Havard » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:12 am

We have always assumed that the draining of magic is something the Old Ones added when they reated the Nucleus of the Spheres from the engines of the craft from the Valley of the Ancients. However, what is that draining effect was already a fundamental part of the technology that eventually was adopted by the Blackmoorians? What if that element of Blackmoor technology was what made the technology so unstable it lead to the Great Rain of Fire? Perhaps the tampering of the Old Ones only enhanced an effect that was already in place?

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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by RobJN » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:22 pm

Havard wrote:We have always assumed that the draining of magic is something the Old Ones added when they reated the Nucleus of the Spheres from the engines of the craft from the Valley of the Ancients. However, what is that draining effect was already a fundamental part of the technology that eventually was adopted by the Blackmoorians? What if that element of Blackmoor technology was what made the technology so unstable it lead to the Great Rain of Fire? Perhaps the tampering of the Old Ones only enhanced an effect that was already in place?

-Havard
Except that the magic-draining effect was a curse put in place by the Immortals of the other Spheres, so that Energy wouldn't overbalance the rest due to an increase in "freebie" Immortality. (Entropy, being.... true to its roots, threw in the withering rot)
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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Havard » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:33 pm

RobJN wrote:Except that the magic-draining effect was a curse put in place by the Immortals of the other Spheres, so that Energy wouldn't overbalance the rest due to an increase in "freebie" Immortality. (Entropy, being.... true to its roots, threw in the withering rot)
Good point. But could that curse too have enhanced or modified an already negative effect?

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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:39 pm

I wonder how close this effect is to how a Furnace and Artifurnace work in Spelljammer.
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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by pauldupuis » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:39 am

We've held in our version of Mystara that the Great Rain of Fire was the result of a Blackmoorian Technological Event (accidental or deliberate has yet to be determined). We play that Blackmoor had a synthesis of technology and magic that was insanely powerful. I had not considered whether some (or all) of that technology may have had a magical draining effect. A neat idea to consider!

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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Khedrac » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:41 am

I think it is generally agreed that the Blackmoor civilisation (and those they shared with such as elves of the time) were both magically and technologically very powerful, probably from blending the two techniques.
We also know that Blackmoor's technology decended from what they found on the crashed alien spaceship (DA3).

It thus seems fairly likely that if Blackmoor's technology depended on draining magic, this would have been the case right from the start, i.e.e an inherent propert of the spaceship tech (or at the very least, of blending it with magic).

This raises the question, how, if their technology drained magic, did they ever become powerful at magic? If the tech drained magic it seems far more likely that they would have become a straight technological society, not the hybrid. Now it is possible that the magic draining manifested later (pre-cataclysm) probably due to someone's meddling, but it does seem unlikely.

Having said that, such an effect would make a nice explanation for the Cataclysm itself. If one is relying on magic to control a powerful technological reactor (nuclear/antimatter/whatever) things are not going to go well if said reactor also drains magic...
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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by brassdragon » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:22 pm

I could have sworn that the Beagle crashed because of weird interactions between technology and magic, but this is all DA3 says:
A little over five years before the events related in this module, one of those survey vessels, the FSS Beagle, suffered a serious malfunction in its drive pod while in orbit around the sole inhabited world in a minor and heretofor uncataloged star system. The accident was not supposed to happen. In fact, the engineers flatly maintained that it was impossible. Nevertheless, a power plant explosion destroyed the ship's spatial discontinuity field and even damaged its conventional drive.
(Maybe I'm unconsciously bringing in a detail from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks or Tale of the Comet?)

Still, I'll take that as giving me room to infer that exposure to Mystaran magic can be very bad for Galactic Survey Bureau technology. And DA3 makes it clear that magic isn't something the Beagle's crew had encountered before:
During the course of his duties, Rocklin became aware of some very strange aspects to Beagle's new home. Many of the species captured by the ebots (ecology robots) used as scouts displayed remarkable characteristics never encountered anywhere else in the galaxy. At first, it was thought that these were manifestations of unique parapsychological talents, but further investigation showed that they were related to a strange energy field permeating the planet, but strongest just north of where the Beagle was grounded. Some of the aspects of this energy field were so bizarre that Rocklin and others took to referring to them as "magic," (which, of course, is what they are).
Without having really looked into how people have fit the Galactic Survey Bureau into Mystara's cosmology, it certainly seems plausible that the reason the Beagle's crew were surprised by magic is that normally their tech suppresses/drains it. The people of Blackmoor then mostly-succeeded at making incompatible principles work together -- with the balancing act eventually failing, leading to the Cataclysm.

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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Khedrac » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:58 pm

The thing is Brassdragon, that you are now getting into the difference between The Known World (campaign setting) and Mystara (campaign setting).

At some point (I think it was around the time that the megalith Urth was quietly retired and replace by a Hollow World - something that would have been very interesting to orbiting surveyors, even with much smaller polar opening) the nature of 'Mystaraspace' was put up for grabs and it ceased to necessarily be the solar system as we then knew it. At this point the FSS Beagle was changed to have breached dimensional bariers before crashing, so it isn't actually from the same galaxy (or universe) as Mystara at all. Of course, all of this owoudl make it more plausible for magic and technology to have negative effects on each other.

What little we know about what can happen in space in The Known World environs mainly comes from M1: Into the Maelstrom when the region of space that used to contain the planet the Aphatians came from is described. A little more was given in Gaz 3, but it is mainly background for the Flaemish and is arguably already abut Mystara not The Known World. Finally, of course, we have Bruce Heard's articles in Dragon about space travel in Mystara.

We do know a little more about technology, but again it is very limited - see IM1: The Immortal Storm where the characters get to visit an outer plane which has gone down the technology route (I cannot remember offhand if magic actually functions there).

Actually, since we do know (Gold Box rules) that function magic requires a minimum active number of dimensions (4 or 5?) then the change to the Beagle to have broken through from a different dimension makes even more sense - perhaps it came from a 3-space where magic cannot function?
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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by Robin » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:33 pm

I do think it was the otherway around as can be read in my Magic topic.
I think Magic affected Technology in affecting the Matter/Antimatter propulsion system of the FSS Beagle.
This magic had somehow (this is still unexplaned) affected the Dimension/Plane/Time/Reality(whichever) where the spacevessel originated, and allowed the vessel enter Mystara Space and this Prime Plane on that moment, before closing it off barring communications to their location of origin.
When the vessel crashedlanded, many items where still functioning on a nuclear basis or electrical and on itself unaffected by magic.
I think that the nuclear antimatter/matter engines hoewever in turn would affect the area as time would ilute the protection, and the explosion of the copied engines in Blackmoor thus affected magic and life on a global scale (Radiance AND the wasting Disease), both will not last forever, and magic will eventually return to the balance before ever being affected by radioactivity.
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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by brassdragon » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:42 pm

Khedrac wrote:The thing is Brassdragon, that you are now getting into the difference between The Known World (campaign setting) and Mystara (campaign setting).
Ooh, right! I fell back into approaching this more like real-world history, where plenty is up for interpretation but you can trust things like the laws of physics and the shape of the planet not to change. :D
Khedrac wrote:At this point the FSS Beagle was changed to have breached dimensional bariers before crashing, so it isn't actually from the same galaxy (or universe) as Mystara at all. Of course, all of this owoudl make it more plausible for magic and technology to have negative effects on each other.
From a DM's perspective, I like that version better than the earlier one -- Blackmoorians combining magic with technology from outside normal reality is powerfully evocative. And i personally would rather have the Federation in an outer plane than surveying the stellar neighborhood.

From a scholarly perspective, I clearly have some additions to make to my library. ;)

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Re: Did Blackmoor Tech Always Drain Magic?

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:30 pm

The version of "Temple of the Frog" found in Dungeons & Dragons Supplement II — Blackmoor had this background for Stephen the Rock:
Supplement II wrote:This fellow is not from the world of Blackmoor at all, but rather he is an intelligent humanoid from another world/dimension. Originally, he and his compatriots were sent to the area to police it against incursions of similar beings, for it was discovered that a dimensional nexus point existed in this area that allowed such possibilities.
The DA series never mentioned dimensional travel, but Wrath of the Immortals brought back the idea of an extradimensional origin for the Beagle, stating:
Wrath of the Immortals wrote:Far away in another dimension, a highly-technological civilization developed a star-drive capable of crossing the void between the planets. Over a period of centuries, they colonized new worlds and allied themselves with other races on inhabited planets they came across. One of their survey ships, the Beagle, was on a mission to explore and map an unknown area of their galaxy when it was caught in a freak energy vortex. The disabled ship was whirled through the dimensional barriers, where the crew managed a crash-landing on the surface of the planet Mystara.
Wrath of the Immortals wrote:A thousand years after Rheddrian's sacrifice, Blackmoor's scientists rediscovered the principles upon which the Beagle's engines had operated—only to find that the highly magical nature of Mystara made such objects volatile.
What I think happened is that the Beagle's engine moved from a dimension where technology worked by science-fictional rules to a dimension in which technology worked by the rules found in PC2 Top Ballista, what author Carl Sargent called "Fantasy Physics."

The d20 version of City of the Gods also had rules for technological item malfunction. One optional suggestion in that book was that the player characters could all themselves be aliens who crashed in the Valley of the Ancients. "The magic of Blackmoor wreaks havoc with future computers, drive systems and technology, disabling escape pods and causing the PCs’ ship to come crashing to earth."

And then, further:
City of the Gods wrote:The city’s alien nature runs counter to the magic-infused land of Blackmoor. The two forces war like magnetic poles, each twisting the other so that both are changed in the end. Characters succeeding in a DC 20 Spellcraft check will recognize that the city projects an ethereal aura that warps, distorts and opposes Blackmoor’s magic.
Following this is a chart that produces random wild-magic effects for those who try to cast spells within the vicinity of the City of the Gods. The worst possible result is "The caster erupts into a burning pillar of fire."

Activating any of the Beagle's tech requires rolling on a mishap chart. The worst possible result is an "accident," which is 2d4 electricity damage plus a 20% chance the item is destroyed.

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