The Return of Rad

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ripvanwormer
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:02 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:26 pm
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.
What's interesting to me (and I'm making this a separate post because it's a very different thought) is the sort of crisis Bruce Heard described in his answer.

From http://www.oocities.org/vexetaman/nucleus.html
Bruce Heard wrote:We’ve had an Age of Energy when the Nucleus was in the hands of the energy munchkins. Now we have an Age of Entropy, where things are likely to get really bad.
His assumption here is that because the Nucleus of the Spheres in its original state allowed candidates to "cheat" and shortcut their way to the Sphere of Energy, the Nucleus of the Spheres in its post-Wrath of the Immortals state allows candidates to "cheat" and shortcut their way to the Sphere of Entropy.

Meaning that Etienne d'Amberville can't use it to regain his old Immortality unless he intends to join the Sphere of Entropy as well. That's the crisis: suddenly there will be a lot more would-be Entropic Immortals making the pilgrimage to Glantri to use the Radiance to bootstrap themselves. And there will be a price for that: negative energy is permanently drained from the world every time the Radiance is used. But what would would-be Entropic Immortals care about that? They're selfish almost be definition. So eventually, after a time of unrivaled Entropic power, the power of Entropy will be brought back into balance as negative energy is bleached away from the world.

I have to say, that's not how I interpreted the conclusion of Wrath of the Immortals. I'd imagined that the Nucleus of the Spheres could be used by anyone, but Entropy would play the price for it. But that's not how Bruce Heard interpreted it.
Bruce Heard wrote:But then again, after the storm comes the good weather we hope. The question is: whose turn on the barrel will it be then? What if the Nucleus then favors yet another sphere? For how long? And what would be the consequences? This can get pretty weird.

In the long run, we should naturally assume each sphere will have its day of glory! Once the whole cycle goes through, what then? Immortals finally find a way to deal with the Nucleus? They quit competing? They start all over again? Old Ones show up and kick some misbehaving Immortal butts? Some Immortals becomes Old Ones, others mere mortals? All of the above? That’s wide open.

Basically, all spheres are affected the same way. The difference is that there only is one artifact instead of five. I think having only one removes the potential for intrigue and rivalry among the spheres. I think each sphere of Immortals should go through the learning pains of building their own artifact in order not to fall behind those who have already succeeded. I think that’s better than having the Old Ones just hand the solution to their problems to the Immortals. That’s just not the way Old Ones would do things. Immortals need to learn something through this ordeal.
Bruce Heard wrote:My guess is that at some point, when the whole *cosmic* cycle goes through, the Nucleus desintegrates. Then starts a new cycle, centering on the Chamber and the shadow elves... and more. The other Immortals would also attempt to construct such devices on their own, one for each sphere of activity. The question is... where, when, and by whom?

I’m making a huge assumption here - perhaps the eventual destruction of the Nucleus itself takes place when the Immortals of each sphere manage to create an equivalent device serving their purposes. Each of these new devices robs its powers from the old Glantrian Nucleus. When all devices are up and running, the Nucleus is empty and finally disintegrates (ouch - effect on Glantri!?). At this point, the Chamber inherits the goal to support the purposes of sphere of Energy. This is artifact is clearly identifiable now. The others remain to be identified and located on Mystara.
Got all that? Basically:

1. Because of the change in Wrath of the Immortals, Entropy runs rampant, many more Entropic Immortals come into being as a consequence of the new Radiance, but death and decay are reduced from the world.

2. Except it can't be, because that results in overpopulation, which results in more death. So the Entropics get a population boost with no long-term consequences.

3. So the Immortals get together and choose another Sphere to benefit. Bruce Heard suggests all the Spheres get their turn. So after Energy and Entropy, perhaps it's Thought's term to get simultaneously rewarded and punished.

4. Or each Sphere builds its own artifact. Rafiel completes the Chamber of the Spheres for Energy; the Sphere of Entropy has the new, corrupted Nucleus of the Spheres; the spheres of Matter, Thought, and Time build their own artifacts, and an arms race begins.

Note that's not what Glantri: Kingdom of Magic implies is happening. A cosmic cycle that rewards/punishes each of the Spheres in turn, only for the Nucleus to disintegrate isn't the same thing as the Nucleus of the Spheres going back to draining magic again as if nothing has happened. So his words in this case can't, I think, be used as support for the idea that the Nucleus drains magic again, since that's not what he was suggesting at all. He simply said that he didn't think rewarding the Entropics was sustainable in the long term.

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MPA
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:42 pm

So all of this makes for some interesting read but my take on the issue surrounding the Nucleus of the Sphere: The Radiance

1) We can all agree that WoTI clearly states that the Old One modified the NoTS to draw power from the Sphere of Entropy.

2) The other supplements are now AD&D driven, though technically still Mystara (Mark of Amber, PWA, Kingdom of magic). There are no Spheres of Power in the AD&D system.

3) Aaron marked the last time "Sphere of ...." in Mark of Amber (Handout V), and even then the story changed. In this case it was an unnamed immortal who changed it to drain from Entropy. The Old One showed up later to chastise Ixion and Rad.

4) In GKoM, Sphere is not used except in regards to the Nucleus, and so the story reads that the Radiance draws Magical energy. That's not the same thing as Sphere of Energy at all. As stated before, there are no Spheres of Power in AD&D.

5) In WoTI, Magic doesn't just consist of Energy, it is made up of four other Spheres also. Drawing power from the Sphere of Entropy could also drain magic for a day or week etc. As would Time or Thought.

6) It should be mentioned, unlike AD&D, The Spheres are not a place. In AD&D there are planes of positive energy and negative energy. In WoTI there is no Sphere of Energy to teleport or gate to. Spheres are ingredients that make up the totality of the D&D multiverse (WoTI pg4). In a manner of speaking they draw similarities to the Elemental planes, but only figuratively.

Could the world survive a diminishing Entropy? Yes. Existence doesn't need entropy to define itself. The opposite of Life is not Death, it is non-existence. Death is evidence that life existed (Doctor Strange: Marvel Premier #13).

So where does that leave Rad? No where really, since he likely has been converted to the AD&D system as an Intermediate power now. In Mark of Amber terms, he appears to have walked away clean from being stuck in that coffin, although the story doesn't say how he got there. Or at least I missed it.

The Dimension of Dreams was mentioned, but that is an actual place occupied by the Diaboli (WoTI pg 106).
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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:15 am

MPA wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:42 pm
There are no Spheres of Power in the AD&D system.
Perhaps not in general, but AD&D Mystara products mentioned the Spheres of Power (renamed the Five Spheres of the Immortals). For example, the RED STEEL Campaign Book, page 106, details all five of the Spheres (and refers interested readers to Wrath of the Immortals if they want to know more). The Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix mentioned them as well in the entry for familiar (page 41).

How to reconcile the Spheres of Power with the AD&D/Planescape cosmology is another question. Are the Spheres only relevant to the world of Mystara and its Immortals, or are they relevant to the multiverse as a whole? It depends on your campaign. One could easily (and I have, in the past) sort the 17 AD&D Outer Planes by which Spheres dominate them. The Gray Waste is heavily dominated by Entropy, Elysium by Thought, Limbo by Energy, Mechanus by Matter, etc. But official Second Edition AD&D products did seem to portray the Spheres as philosophies of concern to the Immortals rather than the multiverse as a whole.
MPA wrote:5) In WoTI, Magic doesn't just consist of Energy, it is made up of four other Spheres also. Drawing power from the Sphere of Entropy could also drain magic for a day or week etc. As would Time or Thought.
In GAZ3, Khoronus claims (page 78) that the artifact's magic-draining effect is a way of punishing the Sphere of Energy. Regardless of where the artifact gains its power, it's Energy that would be hurt the most by magic's loss.
6) It should be mentioned, unlike AD&D, The Spheres are not a place. In AD&D there are planes of positive energy and negative energy. In WoTI there is no Sphere of Energy to teleport or gate to. Spheres are ingredients that make up the totality of the D&D multiverse (WoTI pg4). In a manner of speaking they draw similarities to the Elemental planes, but only figuratively.
While the Negative Energy Plane is obviously more tied to the Sphere of Entropy than most planes, other AD&D planes would also logically be aligned with the Sphere of Entropy to a lesser or greater degree: the Abyss, Gray Waste, Pandemonium, Carceri, Baator, Gehenna, Acheron, Ash, Salt, Vacuum, Dust, Shadow. Many planes will of course be influenced by more than one Sphere in varying proportions.

"Note also that a Sphere is not a place, but is instead a philosophy." — RED STEEL Campaign Book, page 106.
Could the world survive a diminishing Entropy? Yes. Existence doesn't need entropy to define itself. The opposite of Life is not Death, it is non-existence. Death is evidence that life existed (Doctor Strange: Marvel Premier #13).
I don't think the argument is that entropy defines life, but rather that it limits it, prevents life from suffocating itself in its own fecundity, and allows for renewal and change. Without entropy there is no decay, no soil, and nothing for new plants to grow from. One could imagine a universe of unaging, unchanging, uneating, undying life without any need for death to define them, but the multiverse as we know it is predicated on the need for entropy as a balancing agent. Changing it would require more than "less death," but also restructuring all of life to no longer require death.

"Aphid eats leaf. Ladybug eats aphid. Soil absorbs dead ladybug. Plant feeds on soil... Is aphid evil? Is ladybug evil? Is soil evil? Where is evil, in all the wood?" — The Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, Book Four.

You could argue that life could get by with a slower rate of entropy, however (which is the argument some of Planescape's Doomguard faction makes). But ecologies can be sensitive. There are seeds that only open after forest fires. A profusion of herbivores could destroy all the plant life in an area. Without death, soil becomes less fertile and the next season's crops don't grow.
So where does that leave Rad? No where really, since he likely has been converted to the AD&D system as an Intermediate power now.
RED STEEL listed the ranks of Immortals as Initiate, Temporal, Celestial, Empyreal, Eternal, and Hierarch, though Warriors of Heaven did rank Rad as an intermediate power (which I suppose means he officially gained his Immortality back).

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by MPA » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:56 pm

Regarding "Gareth". I found it interesting that new writers in the PWA II decided to insert this new and never before mentioned Immortal in the mix.

The being claims to have "returned" from the Vortex, implying that he may have went there on purpose. But did he do so as a mortal or Immortal? More importantly how did he return and why now?
The first thought is to believe it is Rad. After all the being shows contempt for the immortals, however, the flaw in this argument is that the Mystic, Anand, had a vision of two giant immortals fighting each other and causing the destruction and deaths of tens of thousands in their wake. The first immortal, being one of the many forms used by Ixion, his destroyer aspect. The second immortal was seen also as a destroyer aspect.

Clearly Rad would lack the moral authority to return and say he wants to protect mortals from immortals.
The message could be interpreted that Rad also was thought to be a protector, but ended up being just as destructive and murderous as Ixion. So Rad could not be Gareth.

The other mortal, a cleric named Sitara, had a more pleasant dream in which the immortal appeared in her dream in an incorporeal rainbow hue. In both instances Gareth tapped them to be his prophets and to spread the word that the Immortals were going down.

Another school of thought is that Gareth might be an Old One. If so, then why would an Old One choose to be so discreet? Clearly they have shown that even Hierarchs like Ixion are no match for them. Another possibility is that it is also scheming behind the backs of the other Old Ones or perhaps with their blessings? But what would be the reason for starting the religion that only worshiping Gareth is the way?

So Gareth could not be an Old One.

Therefore I have another proposal: Gareth will usher in Monotheism. Gareth was also a Knight of King Arthur's Roundtable. He once hid his identity as a mere kitchen boy, and when the time was right he showed his true nature and defeated the most powerful of knights in the realm.

It would seem this Gareth, too, is hiding his identity and when the time is right, he will also strike.
Last edited by MPA on Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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I use the rules based on the RC and WoTI.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Sturm » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:20 pm

IMC I assumed Gareth was Benekander. I think it fits quite well with what we know about him. Rad instead returned as himself, but with a more prudent and tolerant approach toward everything.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Havard » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:03 pm

Sturm wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:20 pm
IMC I assumed Gareth was Benekander. I think it fits quite well with what we know about him. Rad instead returned as himself, but with a more prudent and tolerant approach toward everything.
I am leaning towards that theory too. I also like it because it gives Benekander a bit more of a presence in the world.

Rad has definitely grown as a person if he survives his trials. While he probably needs to do some work to regain his position in Immortal Society and regain Etienne's position in Glantri, I think one of his priorities will be to revoke the Day of Dread and the other negative effects caused to Magic as a result of the Wrath of the Immortals.

If the Entropics have managed to somehow cheat their way of their punishment and have the Nucleus drain Magic once again, I think Rad will have a more long term goal to somehow stop this drain completely. I like the idea of the Entropics finding a way out of this punishment, but I think it would be more interesting if this was presented as a storyline of its own. Could this be an elaborate plan cooked up by a specific Entropic Immortal?

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Dragon Turtle » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:31 am

Further discussion of Gareth split into a separate topic here.

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Re: The Return of Rad

Post by Patrick » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:27 am

Excellent writing, Ripvanwormer, and I absolutely agree that if the Radiance is draining entropy, new Radiance immortals should go into the Sphere of Entropy. And I can think of at least a couple MacGregors who I think should be headed that way soon :twisted:
Mike wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:43 am
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.
Mike, take a few hours to really pore over MoA. It is so not just a re-tread. It's a really well-done module, and even the CD is relatively high quality (though, of course, its CD predecessors set a very low bar there).

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