The Return of Rad

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The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:36 pm

Image

Wrath of the Immortals leaves an uncertain fate for the Immortal known as Rad, aka Etienne d'Ambreville. His doomsday device resulted in the destruction of Alphatia and a sever drain on the magic of the world.

Mark of Amber reveals that the Old One (or whoever he was), sent Rad into a prison resembling his childhood home of old Averoigne where was to be taught a lesson. The players can affect the outcome of the adventure. Assuming the PCs don't completely fail, the fate of Rad is one of the following:
a) Rad is returned as an Immortal
b) Rad is returned as a Mortal, but with access to the Radience and the respect of the Immortals (including former enemies), with a great chance of becoming an Immortal again.

Regaining Immortality
It seems that regardless of these two outcomes, it is likely that Etienne will eventually return to Immortality.

The second option does present a dilemma for Etienne however. Would he willingly use Radience to return to Immortality again, knowing that it will further reduce magic on Mystara? The module states that he will have regained the respect of his former enemies, so I suppose they won't hold this too strongly against him, but if he has truly learned a lesson in humility, will he think twice about using the Radience again? On the other hand, the Old Ones no longer block him from accessing it (as they would if the players fail).

It does seem however that Rad will return, either right away or after some time of preparation. It is possible that the Gareth storyline, from the PWA series could have revealed the return of Rad, but we will never know.

Future Goals
Once Rad is restored to Immortality, what will his goals be? It is possible that he now feels responsible for all of the bad outcomes of the Wrath of the Immortals conflict. So reversing any of those effects (Alphatia, Alfheim, the Crater etc) could be things he would be working towards. At the very least, he would probably be willing to assist other Immortals or mortals working towards those goals. The one goal I think he would truly focus on though would be restoring magic on Mystara, removing the Day of Dread and perhaps working to find a permanent stop to the magic drain caused by the Radience without destroying the Nucleus of the Spheres.

Alliances
Would he support Benekander's non-interventionist line? I think not. Perhaps he might even find himself at odds with Benekander who is already heading towards a conflict between all of the Immortals. Or perhaps these two could find a way to work together. I think Rad's conflict with Ixion is over once and for all. The two might not have become friends, but Ixion might want to question Rad in order to learn more about the Old One he witnessed. Ilsundal and Alphatia will seek to work with Rad to restore Alfheim, Alphatia and end the Day of Dread.

Thoughts?

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:33 pm

Post-Wrath of the Immortals, doesn't the Radiance drain entropy (negative energy in 2e-3e terms) from the world instead of magic?

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:44 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:33 pm
Post-Wrath of the Immortals, doesn't the Radiance drain entropy (negative energy in 2e-3e terms) from the world instead of magic?

Ah, yes you are right. Even though K:KoA omitted that.

I suppose that means Rad would not need to change that aspect of the Radience. I do see him wanting to remove the Day of Dread though. Unless that too will be removed by the draining of Entropy?

I think someone (Bruce Heard?) speculated that the Entropics would somehow cheat themselves out of this effect, but that is something that will also be left to the individual DM. Perhaps Rad will have to protect the Nucleus against Entropics seeking to change or destroy the Nucleus now?

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Yaztromo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:48 pm

In all continuities I played in, the eventual failure of magic as something linked to the Nucleous of the Spheres was sorted out by the Shadowelves ;)
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Robin » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:30 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:33 pm
Post-Wrath of the Immortals, doesn't the Radiance drain entropy (negative energy in 2e-3e terms) from the world instead of magic?
In PWA and GKoM the Radiance drains from Energy again canonnically
However; folllowing Radiance usage canonnically the Radiance will eventually explode (Gaz3).
see my suggestion post Here

It might be possible Rad could return, yet even if alive it is unknown if he would be willing, daring or even able to.
there are canon rumours in PWA & GKoM which suggest some having seen Ettienne for a brief moment. there are some fanon sources too.
Yaztromo wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:48 pm
In all continuities I played in, the eventual failure of magic as something linked to the Nucleus of the Spheres was sorted out by the Shadowelves ;)
The thing is that canonnically the Nucleus of Spheres is attached to the Radiance (Gaz13) and thus without the Radiance would probably not work either.


eitherway I feel and think Rad (or better Ettienne) would no longer wish to support the object which dooms the world, but would stear more in the direction on saving the world and reintroduce the knowledge of magic before it was affected by the Radiance(thus before the FSS Beagle crashed, and later exploded and the Old One altered the ruined engines).

more on this suggestion soon ... ;) :mrgreen: :geek:
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:57 am

"I owe you a great debt," Etienne told his liberators. "More than I can ever repay, perhaps. But please, do me the honor of accepting this modest domicile, to keep and sell as you wish. The horses you ride are yours as well."

"We accept, with thanks," said the party leader after briefly conferring with her associates. "But what's next for you?"

"I have a decision to make," said Etienne. With a single word, he vanished.

On another plane, rivers of light and color poured from glowing dunes and shining forests of crystals before coming together in a spiraling pool of luminescence. On the shore of this body of light was a sprawling chateau built in the style of Old Averoigne.

Within the chateau, a circle of sigils was spelled out in precious gems embedded on the floor of a study. Etienne appeared in the center in a flash of magic.

"My lord," said the magen servitor who had waited, with infinite patience, in the very spot Etienne had left it years before. "I never gave up hope that I would see you return."

"Of course you didn't," sighed Etienne. "I created you to hope."

"Would you like me to bring you some wine? Draw you a bath?"

"Both would be fine," said the archmage.

"Right away, my lord."

"But this rough magic I here abjure," murmured Etienne softly.

"My lord?"

Etienne chuckled. "Something someone from my original world once said when he renounced magic. Prospero, his name was. '...I’ll break my staff, bury it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book.' I couldn't imagine anyone doing that. My family abandoned our world rather than do that. And yet here I am, considering just such an act."

"My lord, surely you wouldn't abandon your magic..."

"No. But the Radiance... Do you know what this place is?"

"It is your chateau, my lord. On the shore of the Pool of Luminescence."

"Do you know what the Pool of Luminescence is?"

"...No, my lord."

"It's a nexus point. A confluence where the energies of multiple planes of existence run together. Such things are rare and fleeting, in nature, but this one was stabilized by my Immortal will. This is the only point in the Multiverse where the power of the Radiance on Mystara joins with the raw forces of the Sphere of Energy."

"Your powers are great, my lord."

"My powers *were* great. Perhaps they still are, by mortal standards. But I am diminished. My Immortality was stripped from me by the Old Ones. And here I stand, at another kind of nexus. A confluence of fate."

"Lord?"

"I have a decision to make, magen. I could embrace the Radiance once again, don again the mantle of Immortality. But there is a price. The first time I became Immortal, I didn't understand what the price would be. Now I do."

"A price, my lord?"

"The Nucleus of the Spheres is also a nexus. The Old Ones made it an axis mundi, a navel of the world. The planes and dimensions are bound to it. Disturbing it causes aberrations."

"Aberrations, lord?"

"Indeed. When I first tapped into the Radiance, it distorted reality. Over time, magic itself was lessened. The world still hasn't recovered. During the crisis, some... friends of mine managed to reroute it. But even that has consequences. Too little death could have calamitous effects on the world's ecology. And so I must decide. Do I break my staff and drown my book? Even without Immortality, I still have power. I have an academy and a nation at my beck and call. I have access to the many planes and worlds. Do you know of the Believers of the Source, the Godsmen?"

"You have entertained emmisaries from that faction at your chateau, my lord."

"Yes. They share with me a sense that mortals can and should improve themselves, reach beyond mortality and strive for something greater. They wondered if the Radiance I watched over was the great cosmic Source of their beliefs. In my pride and arrogance, I told them that I believed it was. Now I wonder. Perhaps with them, and other groups like them, I could search for the true mystery beyond the Radiance. Perhaps the Radiance was a test that I failed. I wonder if the Nucleus of the Spheres was not a tool to be used, but a temptation to be avoided, a false bauble distracting me from discovering the true Source."

"Regardless of your decision, I am here to help you in all things, my lord."

Etienne looked at his servant, at its all-too-perfect humanoid form. "Is that what you are for? Perhaps that was where I first went wrong. I hoped to uplift humanity, but I failed to uplift my own creations."

"Lord?"

Etienne touched the magen's forehead. "You, too, should strive for something greater. Greater than me. You, too, should have decisions to make. Magen, do as thou wilt."

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Sturm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:13 am

Beautiful story :)

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Robin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:43 pm

Indeed very nicely written ;) :D ... Rip, your pen and inking thoughts are wonderful :o :mrgreen:
Image.


However

The Cult of Rad severely suffered ignorance and lack of guidance, and thus a fading of the Cult of Rad, this due lack of the Voice of Rad, which stopped at the end of 1010 AC when Wrath of the Immortals ended (as Etienne was the Immortal Rad and he was whisked away). Both the Temples of Rad and the Radiance users no longer felt guided by Rad.
In fact it is his disappearance and thus lack of control, which causes the number of Radiance followers to increase rapidly (see my suggestion post Here). Something similar went on with the Shepherds and mages meditating; without the leading and directing voice the Shepherds rapidly chose their own thoughts and wishes, and this individualism causes a severe fragmentation of the temple and its followers. More and more it seeps in that is similar to a religion, and thus less mages are willing to submit to the cults new streaming. The temple is actually a religion, but without clergy, and due the reducing number of Followers the Immortal Rad will (if he returns at all) be severely handicapped and reduced in magnitude and powers.
(according to canon rules;
the level of an immortal is greatly affected by its number of followers; if it raises he/she might be able to gain new levels, if it drops, he/she will wither away, until there are no more followers and he/she will seem to disappear, however if someone later discovers sections of history about this immortal, and decides to follow this path, the immortal can reawaken and slowly influence the world again/giving spells, etc.
The problem in Rad is that he literally disappeared (depending on the outcome of the adventure CD2-TSR2513-AD&D2-Mystara-Mark of Amber-Boxed Set this might be permanent or for a very long time, or he might eventually return, either way, the damage of this severe Stroke is done, and irreversible on a short time without direct action to Mortals, which is forbidden by Immortals, and be sure Rad is under heavy supervision by the other Immortals if he returns at all).
Then he has to gather anew from the beginning new (or older, but again) followers to gain Immortal Powers of higher levels, which will take time, lots of time especially under other thoughts.If he became Immortal again after the Amber ordeal, I assume he would be no more than a few levels at best, refecting the severe stroke and lack of followers.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:03 pm

I really like your post Rip!

Several things I picked up on
1) Rad is uncertain on how to proceed. I still think he will find some way to achieve Immortality, most likely through the Radience, though other options like the Chamber of the Stars, if completed, is another possibility.
2) Magen and their humanity. I have never really known what to think about Magen. I am really fascinated by the idea that Rad might have wanted to make them fully human.
3) Godsmen on Mystara. Well, it is an interesting idea. The contact between Mystara and Sigil do seem to have been sparse, but there are a few other examples and it would not be beyond Rad of course.
4) Prospero. A reference to this discussion? :)

Robin: You are correct. If Rad uses the Radience to ascend to Immortality at the end of Mark of Amber, then he would likely be a 1st Level Immortal as opposed to his former 22nd level status. OTOH, his loss of Immortality was caused by an Old One, so who knows what rules might apply on his return? Mark of Amber also allows for the full success option where Rad returns to full Immortality, so these things are best left to each DM.

However, I am still very much interested in what Rad would do once his Immortality has been restored, given that this seems to be the most likely option.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Robin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:56 am

I agreethat it is of course left to the individual DM. ;)

Yet it must betaken into account that the canon rule for followers effects upon Immortals (Immortal set and WotI Immortal book) is the main effect of an Immortal Stroke...reducing the amounts of followers and hence the level of the Immortal the followers adhere to. :evil:

A normal Immortal has clerics...which according to the Nightwail Trilogy can always cast 1st and 2nd level spells(even if the Immortal is gone), are mostly very pious and devote to the Immortal.This clerical magic will make followers more constraint to their faith and thus the Immortal, than anyotherway.And would thus have a much, much slower decay of number of followers and the faith if an Immortal is gone. :halo:

Rad on the other hand did it more secretly; he never invoked the knowledge he was an Immortal, as that would lure dispicable clerics (his thoughts or at least the nation). He was a secret voice to the Radiance Brothers, and a secret voice to the Shephards of Rad...according Gaz3/GKoM. these voices fell silent when he dissapeared. The mostly selfish, egoistically and chaotic mages would thus no longer be directed towards the goals/plans of Rad, and asap stear their own way and plans. This would thus create a great dissesion and ultimate brakup of the whole Shepards faith....(as each shepard dictates other (personal ) plans....and the Radiance users will no longer restrict the use of Radiance magic , which will attract rapidly new users, which also no longer will be restricted...thus an immense and rapid use of Radiance and powerful drain on the artifact.
These effects will come very rapid to effect in a chaotic mind, and thus more with mages (who are by number more chaotic than any other class). and thus will have a profound effect upon the followers; a voice no longer heard by meditation is no longer followed soon. and the temples will start to disintegrate. :twisted:

Even when Rad returns (and hey I like that idea) he will have lost an estimated 30% in the first year and another 30% in the next 2 years of his Glantrian followers, with an estimate other 30% in the next 3 years. The longer he will be away to recover, the weaker he will be. It might be the Old one allows him to become an Immortal again, yet as any Immortal derives upon its followers, he will be never as powerful as he was before he dissapeared. Hence I estimated him a Level 1 Immortal (which is also a full Immortal), and no more than half of his original Power.

Back to Rad himself; He will if he recovers, either Mortal with a chance of becomming Immortal again (which takes a lot of time and effort), or a low Immortal, or an Immortal as high possible to his original Immortal self, soo discover why everything happened as it did. And what his share is in this beehive.
I estimate if he was Mortal, he would stay mortal (most probably under another guise and appearance) a long time; seeing his former faith crumble away, and being disused. I estimate his knowledge and possible powers could well enable him to pass beyond the destruction of the Radiance itself....I do not think he will re-use the Radiance, due its inevitable major effects upon Mystara, Magic, and Life in total. My premonition is he will probably even trying to steer away from the Radiance and become more interested in magic which existed prior the Radiance(aka prior to Blackmoor).
If he was Immortal; the same thoughts would be there...there is a chance he loses interrest in Glantri as a whole and directs his interest upon his minor followers (with clergy) elsewhere, trying to increase their number (and thus enable him to restore to his older self. Of course he will take a peek in Glantri, as the country disintegrates slowly, corrupted by overzealous and greedy mages (especially Necromancers and Radiance users). As he will discover the destruction of the Radiance in inevitable, he may be lured to try to safe the good things he did, by taking another mortal (and maybe even Immortal) appearance and name and intend to safe the knowledge of magic, the common populace of Glantri. and hence in the end the survival of the world.... an enduring task, and Immortal campaign indeed...not taking into account any other disturbances, like war, disease, etc....spanning several hundreds of years, even beyond the Radiance is gone...in a new world, raised upon the scarred prior, ....with new(actually old) magic.

That is more or less my idea upon Rad. I based this upon the logical and 'automatic' reactions and behavioral patterns of humans (amongst others) who by all accounts always think of themselves as individual with individual needs first. basic Real World example; due the egoistical and often also unknown side effects of industrialisation world pollution bacame strong, this had great effects upon weather patterns, these dried the former fertile areas in the middle of the world. the deprivation of sources to live upon forced people to try to keep or take these from others. In the name of thought patters like religion, power, and fear, they commit to war...seeing other parts of the world life in riches. refugees and losers can do only one thing to survive and travel to these richer countries. where the bring in their own problems, create tension and maybe eventually even worse. what goes around comes around. and the weirdest part of it is almost nobody is aware of the source, and its effects of each step in this process.

The Radiance and magic will follow a similar path, and effects on Mystara...and only the Immortals can guide this in good lines...but more probably they will try to safe their followers only instead working together...maybe that is what the Old One tries to learn the Immortals; that they are not alone, and every act for themselves hurts others, and eventually themselves.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:33 pm

Havard wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:03 pm
4) Prospero. A reference to this discussion? :)
Yes.

The name "Pool of Luminescence" as Rad's realm in the planes is from Warriors of Heaven, which placed it on the Quasielemental Plane of Radiance. I chose a spot on the border between "Brighthome" (the border between Radiance and Mineral), "the Glowing Dunes" (the border between Radiance and Magma, which is radioactive), and "Core Radiance." I was vague in the story above where Rad's realm was, though; it could just as easily have been an outer plane in the BECMI cosmology.

I had the idea that Etienne might elect to remain a mortal but act to advance his goals in other ways, becoming more involved in the politics of the planes, or work to find a new source of Immortality.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:29 am

It's probably already mentioned, but the Nucleus of the Spheres (NoS) no longer drains magic from the plane of Energy, it drains the Sphere of Entropy.
As everyone already knows (I think), that NoS was hyper drive of the ship that landed there. It became an artifact because it was damaged and its energies mixed with the magic on Mystara.

The Mark of Amber adventure is a good storytelling one. It gives some detail on what happened to him and his family of nobles after his disappearance. Although I am confused that it is understood that an Old One took him, but then his body is later in a coffin.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Mike » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:43 am

Nice writing, ripvanwormer!

I like the idea of Rad coming back. I hadn't looked at Mark of Amber closely enough to notice this, thinking it was just a re-tread of X2. But I always hated the tragic end of Rad in WOTI, and am glad he is not dead.

My thoughts:

I cannot imagine that, having tasted immortality, Rad would choose to forgo it, even at great cost, for two reasons:
  • Who wants to die, if living is a possibility? To give up immortality is to choose death. Even at great personal cost, or inconvenience to the world, I would think he would choose life.
  • Rad was a wizard and a researcher. Having tasted the power and knowledge of immortality, I think it would be an irresistable lure... having tasted it, could he ever be content without it? Or content to not pursue it?
  • He succeeded in his quest! What genius-level mad scientist is ever discouraged by a mere setback? If anything he is energized. If he did the impossible once he can do it again, and he can avoid the mistakes he made before.
Etienne is in a unique position: he has been immortal and has learned secrets that only immortals know. Once before he found a backdoor to immortality, and he did that before he knew the secrets. How much more does he know now? He knows the radiance, knows metaphysics at an immortal level, has personally met an old one, and had an experience that no other being in the multiverse has experienced! If he found a backdoor before, how much more might he find one now... even a different one? It is very likely that in his researches he found other interesting leads, but did not follow up on them because the Radiance was already within his grasp.

Maybe the immortals frown on him returning, and maybe it is even "forbidden" for anyone on Pandius to sponsor him, but he was always a hot-head who scoffed at authority and did his own thing. He may have changed, but did he change that much? I wonder what the lesson is that he was to learn? Could it be that he was meant to discover and "abuse" the Radiance, as part of a path toward something else?

I always thought of Etienne as a well-meaning person who was led astray by his own intelligence and individualism; the classic mad scientist. I like how in ripvanwormer's story he is humbled and reflective. it seems to me that there are two possible outcomes for him: one, he could be angry and determined to have his way, and double down on his researches. Or, he could be humbled and learn some respect for others, as well as self-reflection, and seek a better path. That doesn't mean giving up, it just means he has gained wisdom and self-restraint.

Perhaps the Old One intends for Etienne to find a third path. The classic immortal's path is too difficult and too gated, to subject to arbitrary whims and judgments of immortals. Maybe they were never intended to be the gatekeepers of immortality. But the Radiance is too wide open, allowing the unworthy to reach immortality. It is raw power; but power must be tempered with wisdom and ethics. Rad himself probably got there too easily, behaving arrogantly and reaching 22nd level as an immortal before his progress was checked. Now he has been sent back to find the correct path, one open to all, one that is not bound up in religion and ritual and kissing up to a sponsor.

If the lawful way is to promote life, then the goal of any lawful immortal should be that all deserving mortals achieve immortality... because the alternative is to sentence them to death. So those immortals who claim to be lawful, if they have the power to act and do not use it, then are they truly lawful, or are they hypocrites? Of course they don't want uncontrollable peers challenging them or causing havok... but then, isn't that what mortals have to deal with every day? The truth is, the immortals are unwilling to share their privilege because it is inconvenient, and have appointed themselves judges.

Still, it is not safe to just give power to just anyone, including Rad; many will suffer if that happens, as happened in WOTI. But WOTI also showed the pettiness of the immortals, and showed that they are not reliable protectors or suitable gatekeepers. Finally, Rad learned that the immortals are (fortunately) not the true rulers and protectors of the multiverse -- the Old Ones are. The multiverse is not the immortals' sandbox, they are mere children compared to the old ones. So Rad will have learned respect for who is really in charge. He wasn't religious before, because immortals are only privileged peers. But now he might have an inkling of something like religion: gods do exist, and they are not the immortals. And where the immortals plotted and fought against him, the old one showed him mercy.

This is all half-baked... I'm thinking as I type. Feel free to critique.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:27 pm

Robin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:30 am
ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:33 pm
Post-Wrath of the Immortals, doesn't the Radiance drain entropy (negative energy in 2e-3e terms) from the world instead of magic?
In PWA and GKoM the Radiance drains from Energy again canonnically
I guess I am rusty on abbreviations? PWA? GKoM? :mrgreen:
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Robin » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:36 pm

PWA=Poor Wizard Almanacs
GKoM=Glantri Kingdom of Magic boxed set


You have more DoE= Dawn off Emperors boxed set, KKoA=Karameikos Kingdom of Adventure, GRoF=Great Rain of Fire, etc
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:42 pm

Robin wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:36 pm
PWA=Poor Wizard Almanacs
GKoM=Glantri Kingdom of Magic boxed set


You have more DoE= Dawn off Emperors boxed set, KKoA=Karameikos Kingdom of Adventure, GRoF=Great Rain of Fire, etc
HA! Thanks. I need to pin this up somewhere. :D
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:33 pm

n/a
Last edited by MPA on Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:09 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:33 pm
Havard wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:03 pm
4) Prospero. A reference to this discussion? :)
Yes.

The name "Pool of Luminescence" as Rad's realm in the planes is from Warriors of Heaven, which placed it on the Quasielemental Plane of Radiance. I chose a spot on the border between "Brighthome" (the border between Radiance and Mineral), "the Glowing Dunes" (the border between Radiance and Magma, which is radioactive), and "Core Radiance." I was vague in the story above where Rad's realm was, though; it could just as easily have been an outer plane in the BECMI cosmology.
Thanks for pointing out those references Rip! I like the descriptions. And the name Pool of Lumiescence is neat.
I had the idea that Etienne might elect to remain a mortal but act to advance his goals in other ways, becoming more involved in the politics of the planes, or work to find a new source of Immortality.
It is a possible option, but I think less likely. Perhaps he would choose to remain mortal for a time, but eventually I think Immortality is the only path for him. But ultimately that is left for each DM to decide.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:12 pm

Mike wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:43 am
Nice writing, ripvanwormer!

I like the idea of Rad coming back. I hadn't looked at Mark of Amber closely enough to notice this, thinking it was just a re-tread of X2. But I always hated the tragic end of Rad in WOTI, and am glad he is not dead.

My thoughts:

I cannot imagine that, having tasted immortality, Rad would choose to forgo it, even at great cost, for two reasons:
  • Who wants to die, if living is a possibility? To give up immortality is to choose death. Even at great personal cost, or inconvenience to the world, I would think he would choose life.
  • Rad was a wizard and a researcher. Having tasted the power and knowledge of immortality, I think it would be an irresistable lure... having tasted it, could he ever be content without it? Or content to not pursue it?
  • He succeeded in his quest! What genius-level mad scientist is ever discouraged by a mere setback? If anything he is energized. If he did the impossible once he can do it again, and he can avoid the mistakes he made before.
Etienne is in a unique position: he has been immortal and has learned secrets that only immortals know. Once before he found a backdoor to immortality, and he did that before he knew the secrets. How much more does he know now? He knows the radiance, knows metaphysics at an immortal level, has personally met an old one, and had an experience that no other being in the multiverse has experienced! If he found a backdoor before, how much more might he find one now... even a different one? It is very likely that in his researches he found other interesting leads, but did not follow up on them because the Radiance was already within his grasp.

Maybe the immortals frown on him returning, and maybe it is even "forbidden" for anyone on Pandius to sponsor him, but he was always a hot-head who scoffed at authority and did his own thing. He may have changed, but did he change that much? I wonder what the lesson is that he was to learn? Could it be that he was meant to discover and "abuse" the Radiance, as part of a path toward something else?

I always thought of Etienne as a well-meaning person who was led astray by his own intelligence and individualism; the classic mad scientist. I like how in ripvanwormer's story he is humbled and reflective. it seems to me that there are two possible outcomes for him: one, he could be angry and determined to have his way, and double down on his researches. Or, he could be humbled and learn some respect for others, as well as self-reflection, and seek a better path. That doesn't mean giving up, it just means he has gained wisdom and self-restraint.

Perhaps the Old One intends for Etienne to find a third path. The classic immortal's path is too difficult and too gated, to subject to arbitrary whims and judgments of immortals. Maybe they were never intended to be the gatekeepers of immortality. But the Radiance is too wide open, allowing the unworthy to reach immortality. It is raw power; but power must be tempered with wisdom and ethics. Rad himself probably got there too easily, behaving arrogantly and reaching 22nd level as an immortal before his progress was checked. Now he has been sent back to find the correct path, one open to all, one that is not bound up in religion and ritual and kissing up to a sponsor.

If the lawful way is to promote life, then the goal of any lawful immortal should be that all deserving mortals achieve immortality... because the alternative is to sentence them to death. So those immortals who claim to be lawful, if they have the power to act and do not use it, then are they truly lawful, or are they hypocrites? Of course they don't want uncontrollable peers challenging them or causing havok... but then, isn't that what mortals have to deal with every day? The truth is, the immortals are unwilling to share their privilege because it is inconvenient, and have appointed themselves judges.

Still, it is not safe to just give power to just anyone, including Rad; many will suffer if that happens, as happened in WOTI. But WOTI also showed the pettiness of the immortals, and showed that they are not reliable protectors or suitable gatekeepers. Finally, Rad learned that the immortals are (fortunately) not the true rulers and protectors of the multiverse -- the Old Ones are. The multiverse is not the immortals' sandbox, they are mere children compared to the old ones. So Rad will have learned respect for who is really in charge. He wasn't religious before, because immortals are only privileged peers. But now he might have an inkling of something like religion: gods do exist, and they are not the immortals. And where the immortals plotted and fought against him, the old one showed him mercy.

This is all half-baked... I'm thinking as I type. Feel free to critique.
Great thoughts and ideas here Mike.

My idea is actually that the Old One had a slightly different idea for Rad. Rad looses his Immortality, and is restored to it. What actually happened here was that the Old One created a short cut for Rad to become an Old One himself. Rad no longer needs to achieve Hierarch Status, then give up his Immortality and become Hierarch a second time. Instead, he now "only" needs to become Hierarch once and he will be greeted by the Deadly Spheres (Blackballs) and becomes one of the Old Ones. The only Immortal to have accomplished this in centuries. Why else would the Old Ones have left the Nucleus of the Spheres on Mystara in the first place?

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:14 pm

Robin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:30 am
ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:33 pm
Post-Wrath of the Immortals, doesn't the Radiance drain entropy (negative energy in 2e-3e terms) from the world instead of magic?
In PWA and GKoM the Radiance drains from Energy again canonnically
However; folllowing Radiance usage canonnically the Radiance will eventually explode (Gaz3).
see my suggestion post Here

It might be possible Rad could return, yet even if alive it is unknown if he would be willing, daring or even able to.
there are canon rumours in PWA & GKoM which suggest some having seen Ettienne for a brief moment. there are some fanon sources too.

I probably should have asked my question here

I guess Im confused. I went through the PWA and GKoM, but I didn't see any references that the Radiance has been changed to draw power from the Sphere of Energy. I noticed that all three books, PWA, GKoM and Mark of Amber, all came out in 1995 and Mark of Amber specifically mentions it continues to draw from Entropy. Right?

Also I noticed that some of you are talking like Rad is still gone, but Mark of Amber brought him back at the end. If not then what did I read?
:?: :?:
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:29 pm

MPA wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:14 pm
I guess Im confused. I went through the PWA and GKoM, but I didn't see any references that the Radiance has been changed to draw power from the Sphere of Energy. I noticed that all three books, PWA, GKoM and Mark of Amber, all came out in 1995 and Mark of Amber specifically mentions it continues to draw from Entropy. Right?
Originally the NoS drew power from the Sphere of Energy. At the end of Wrath of the Immortals (WotI), it was changed so it would be draw from Entropy instead. Glantri:Kingdom of Magic however, ignores the change in WotI and still describes how the Radience drains Energy/Magic. It is quite possible that this was a mistake, but it could also be a retcon.
Also I noticed that some of you are talking like Rad is still gone, but Mark of Amber brought him back at the end. If not then what did I read?
:?: :?:
There are three possible outcomes of Mark of Amber:
1) Rad returns fully restored (complete success)
2) Rad returns as a mortal with the chance of returning to Immortality (Moderate success)
3) Rad returns as a mortal and will be blocked from accessing the Nucleus of the Spheres (failure)

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:15 pm

Havard wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:29 pm
MPA wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:14 pm
I guess Im confused. I went through the PWA and GKoM, but I didn't see any references that the Radiance has been changed to draw power from the Sphere of Energy. I noticed that all three books, PWA, GKoM and Mark of Amber, all came out in 1995 and Mark of Amber specifically mentions it continues to draw from Entropy. Right?
Originally the NoS drew power from the Sphere of Energy. At the end of Wrath of the Immortals (WotI), it was changed so it would be draw from Entropy instead. Glantri:Kingdom of Magic however, ignores the change in WotI and still describes how the Radience drains Energy/Magic. It is quite possible that this was a mistake, but it could also be a retcon.
Also I noticed that some of you are talking like Rad is still gone, but Mark of Amber brought him back at the end. If not then what did I read?
:?: :?:
There are three possible outcomes of Mark of Amber:
1) Rad returns fully restored (complete success)
2) Rad returns as a mortal with the chance of returning to Immortality (Moderate success)
3) Rad returns as a mortal and will be blocked from accessing the Nucleus of the Spheres (failure)

-Havard
Thank you.

I did see the part in GKoM, where it says it drains magic, but no Sphere was mentioned. Glad to see people still interested in Mystara. The fact that WOTC allowed the RC to be reprinted, might suggest they are willing to take another look at Mystara.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Robin » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:41 pm

Both the PWA and GKoM note that in 1013AC the Radiance drains Energy again...instead entropy...as such I think Entropy found a way to escape this.

As Havard said, about Bruce Heard, he did indeed already suggest (http://www.oocities.org/vexetaman/nucleus.html where he spoke of this, but it was somewhere here on Piazza ;
Theoretically, this is impossible... You just can’t *kill* death! A universe without entropy is a myth - nothing would ever die or change. It is pointless and, from the point of view of Immortals, absolute oblivion nevertheless! Can’t happen.

This whole thing is an aberration -- a weird glitch affecting the Nucleus for the time being. If not dealt with, Entropy may end up suffering no ill effect at all, AND still boost its influence at the expense of all the others.
were Bruce words....it will always find a way to exist / escape...as without death the universe will stop functioning (also a form of death and thus escape))
The same functions for the Entropic use off the radiance in 1010AC-1013AC...Entropy escaped...and the unavoidable destruction of the Radiance will be coming closer.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:00 pm

Robin wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:41 pm
Both the PWA and GKoM note that in 1013AC the Radiance drains Energy again...instead entropy...as such I think Entropy found a way to escape this.

As Havard said, about Bruce Heard, he did indeed already suggest (http://www.oocities.org/vexetaman/nucleus.html where he spoke of this, but it was somewhere here on Piazza ;
Theoretically, this is impossible... You just can’t *kill* death! A universe without entropy is a myth - nothing would ever die or change. It is pointless and, from the point of view of Immortals, absolute oblivion nevertheless! Can’t happen.

This whole thing is an aberration -- a weird glitch affecting the Nucleus for the time being. If not dealt with, Entropy may end up suffering no ill effect at all, AND still boost its influence at the expense of all the others.
were Bruce words....it will always find a way to exist / escape...as without death the universe will stop functioning (also a form of death and thus escape))
The same functions for the Entropic use off the radiance in 1010AC-1013AC...Entropy escaped...and the unavoidable destruction of the Radiance will be coming closer.
I'm not sure if this was directed at me or not.

Sorry but I saw nothing in either the PWA or GKoM that changed the Nucleus of the Spheres changed from Entropy to Energy.

As far as Bruce, I would have to read the entire context of what was being discussed.
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:26 pm

Robin wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:41 pm
Theoretically, this is impossible... You just can’t *kill* death! A universe without entropy is a myth - nothing would ever die or change. It is pointless and, from the point of view of Immortals, absolute oblivion nevertheless! Can’t happen.
I alluded to that above, when I had Rad worrying about the ecological consequences of too little death.

But I'm not so sure that's a good interpretation.

Too little energy would obviously be equally devastating to the world. All life needs energy to live. A universe without energy would be lightless, frozen.

But when the Immortals decreed that the Sphere of Energy must be punished for defying the rules for Immortal ascension, they didn't act to drain all energy from the world, only one form of it: magic. The loss of magic and magic-users would definitely hurt the power of the Sphere of Energy, but it wouldn't destroy all life.

Similarly, Wrath of the Immortals doesn't suggest that the Nucleus of the Spheres would begin draining all death from the world. What we're told is (Book II: The Immortals' Fury, page 70) "The Doomsday Weapon is forever destroyed. The creature's return to the Nucleus alters it permanently to draw negative energy, the source of Entropy's power."

The problem is that we're not told exactly what that means. "Negative energy" didn't have a formal definition in BECMI. It isn't even a BECMI term, really; it's an AD&D term. But I think we weren't meant to think that the Nucleus of the Spheres would begin draining the ability of things to die or change any more than it was formerly draining all light, heat, and motion from the world.

1st edition Deities & Demigods said that negative energy is "the source of power for undead." 3rd edition's LIbris Mortis (page 7) went into more detail: "While atrocity may serve as a trigger for unlife, it is not enough to bring about a transformation of this magnitude on its own. It requires the very energy that drives dark spirits and their unquenchable thirst for life. That which is dead has no vitality, so where does the energy of animation come from? Negative energy—a force that is marshaled, stored, and utilized mostly by evil creatures, malign deities, and their servants—provides the power for this metamorphosis. Just as blood suffuses living creatures, negative energy suffuses undead, providing them all their abilities, from mobility to sentience, from flesh-eating to soul-devouring."

Thus, I think specifically what the Nucleus of the Spheres is meant to be draining is the power source for undead, the potential for skeletons, zombies, ghouls, wights, wraiths, druj, odics, wyrds, liches, and nightshades (and so on) to walk the face of the world. Draining that would certainly reduce the Sphere of Entropy's power, but it's hard to make the case that the living on Mystara need it to survive. A world without undead would still have death and decay; it would only lose the supernatural side of Entropy's power. Exactly what the Sphere of Energy was losing under the Nucleus's previous setting. That, I think, is perfectly fair.

And while Wrath of the Immortals said the alteration of the Nucleus was permanent, that just means it's not going to change again on its own. But still: if we're meant to think that Entropy changed the terms of the deal somehow, we should be told what the circumstances of that were. It's not just a decree of the Immortals, after all, but something the player characters themselves accomplish after a long and difficult quest. It's earned, and thus it deserves more than "they changed it back for some reason." Why did they change it back? Why should Energy be punished again? Did they send in another party of adventurers to touch the Emergency Reroute icon again? What was the emergency?

Bruce Heard, in the answer you quoted from above, postulated that turning the Nucleus into an "entropic machine" would precipitate another crisis that the Immortals would have to resolve. That's possible, but there's nothing in print that describes such a crisis.

Without some sort of explanation (and we never got one in print), I can't accept that the change was deliberate and not someone missing the relevant parts of Wrath of the Immortals. This isn't the sort of thing you can just pretend didn't happen.

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