MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

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MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by OldDawg » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:01 pm

In my (rare) spare time of late, I've been kicking around an idea for an historical era project similar to the 2300 BC- Shimmering Lands/Morgeth project. This one would take place ca. 5300-5000 BC, with the defining characteristic that the Burrowers are producing insanity among the tribes of men (some early city builders, pastoralists, hunter-gatherers, and wildmen), leading them to wars. [Canon mentions only the HW, but it seems like a valid OW extension.]

I'm picturing a scene where two tribes battle, dark storm clouds gathering in the skies, and a giant worm undulates in rhythm with the carnage below.

This would be a GazF-compliant project, but it is generally open-ended. Specific framework concepts are:
1) human-only setting. This era is before the founding of Mohacs, Thonia, and the meeting of humans and demi-humans.
2) No humanoids, but there can be neanderthals, goliaths, and lizard-folk remnants of the Carnifex era hidden away.
3) Horror and terror elements (cf. Ravenloft) should play a role, so Lovecraftian or Howardian strangeness in an otherwise normal-seeming world are a fit.
4) Giants and dragons are presently aslumber (following the Carnifex war), but the Burrower activities will awaken them, and some of Terra's champions will be corrupted.
5) The burrowers also weaken some of the prisons holding various Carnifex abominations (e.g. beholders), leading to their eventual release into the world.

The setting locale I had in mind was eastern Isle of Dawn+Bellisaria (which I use as the Neathar homeland), adjusted for lower sea levels, and millenia of geological changes.

So, would you guys be interested in this type of a project?

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by Havard » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:20 pm

Sounds interesting!

I already have some thoughts on this era as part of my speculations on Blackmoor's past. Would be very interested in hearing what you have in mind! :)

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by Chimpman » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:49 pm

Dawg, I love all of these ideas! I'm very interested to see what you come up with. I'll comment some more after I've digested some of your thoughts and had a chance to think about them for a bit.
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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by happylarry » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:53 pm

This sounds very interesting.

What would be the key events that begins this time period, and the key event(s) that end it?

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:05 am

This timeline seems to encapsulate the period involved.

5500 BC: Thanatos inspires certain nonhuman sorcerers, subterranean descendants of the Carnifex era, to summon the Burrowers to Mystara.

5300 BC: The Burrower Wars begin, as the Greater Burrowers, now grown mighty in power, use their powerful mental abilities to creep into the dreams of humans and brute-men in both the outer and inner worlds, offering them power at the price of their sanity. Some are physically transformed by the mental touch of the Burrowers and become terrifying supernatural entities in their own right, while others remain physically unchanged but are mentally reduced to thralls of the Burrowers and their pawns. For a long time, humans and brute-men are unaware that their rulers are pawns of subterranean monsters, knowing only that their world is dominated by warlords with terrifying occult abilities, continually starting wars in a struggle for dominance.

5000 BC: The Spell of Preservation imprisons the Greater Burrowers, ending their threat for the time being. With the Burrower-enspelled warlords suddenly losing their power on the surface world, human civilization can finally develop. Robert of Geneva defeats the former thralls of the Burrowers and founds the Kingdom of Thonia, in a way parallel to the way the kingdom was founded in Rafael's timeline, but with a very different background. Perhaps the Egg of Coot is a Greater Burrower imprisoned for a time, who later wins free to recreate the sort of thralldom common to the age of the Burrower Wars.

A big issue would be figuring out what role the PCs could play in defeating the Burrowers if they were defeated by a deus ex machina from the Immortals themselves. Perhaps the laws of the Immortals require mortals to do the heavy lifting in bringing such world-changing magic to the Prime Plane (as I hypothesized that mortal sorcerers did the actual summoning of the Burrowers); the most important Immortal law is that of noninterference, because a world where Immortals interfere too directly tends to produce fewer Immortal candidates. Mortals must be allowed to control their own destiny if promising new Immortals are going to be born. Therefore, the Spell of Preservation cannot be cast unless mortals assemble the components (perhaps several potent artifacts) in key locations throughout the Hollow World, and activate the magic of their own free will, paying whatever price is required. Klarkasz or a similar entity could be the campaign's main villain, with the PCs perhaps battling him directly at the climax while he does everything in his power to prevent their mission from succeeding. Successfully activating the Spell of Preservation would be a fine test for prospective Immortal candidates as well, so the PCs might end up ascending to Immortality at the campaign's end.

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by Seer of Yhog » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:39 am

This is a very interesting idea, and I'd like to see more.
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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by OldDawg » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:46 am

ripvanwormer wrote:This timeline seems to encapsulate the period involved.
[snipped]
For now, the skeleton timeline is:

5500 BC: Appearance of the Burrowers.
5300 BC: Onset of the Burrower Wars (widespread).
5200 BC: Founding of Mohacs (founder => Khoronus)
5000 BC: Conclusion of the Burrower Wars: 1) Burrowers rendered inoperative, 2) the First Republic of Thonia established, 3) the proto-Skandaharian migrations.

If you wanted to structure the campaign with a specific objective in mind, one could be the migration of the Thonian people and their establishment of Mohacs and later the First Republic; or a campaign to discover the nature of the Burrowers are stop them. The period that I am most interested in, however, is 5300 as the Burrower Wars are just about to erupt. In that sense, the Burrowers are foremost a part of the setting background and not necessarily the endgame goal of a campaign.

Robert of Geneva could be an analog to the mortal form of Khoronus, this being the rendering of his name in a Blackmoor era time. And harkening back on the origin of "Thonia", the settlement of Mohacs could come after dealing with Chthonic entities tied to the Burrowers.
Klarkasz or a similar entity could be the campaign's main villain.
[/quote]

I definitely see a role for such an entity. Kopru are definitely an allowable creature during this period. Two of the inspiration concepts I had was Leviathan and Dagon. The Klarkasz-like creature could just rise up out of the surf and stand still as subjects worshipped it, disappearing beneath the ways after ceremonies. An adventure could include a Samson-styled character that topples the statuary and temple of such a creature.

Another thought I've had is the nature of the power that the Burrowers possess. By and large they (and the kopru) are really psionic forces. What if the reason there are no notable psionics in Mystara today is because the immobilizing of the Burrowers was an "ESP-bomb" or Magneto-styled telepathy blocker that stripped the potential from all but the rarest of individuals even into the present? [The Time artifact in the Serpent Peninsula that grants precog abilities to the Yavi counteracts this effect?]



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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by Havard » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:48 pm

OldDawg wrote: For now, the skeleton timeline is:

5500 BC: Appearance of the Burrowers.
5300 BC: Onset of the Burrower Wars (widespread).
5200 BC: Founding of Mohacs (founder => Khoronus)
5000 BC: Conclusion of the Burrower Wars: 1) Burrowers rendered inoperative, 2) the First Republic of Thonia established, 3) the proto-Skandaharian migrations.
Okay, this is a bit more condensed than I originally envisioned things, but that is okay. I have Thonia being founded in BC 5000, though these dates aren't really all that specific. Thonia should be about 1000 years by the time of the classic Blackmoor era, but other than that there's room for some flexibility.
If you wanted to structure the campaign with a specific objective in mind, one could be the migration of the Thonian people and their establishment of Mohacs and later the First Republic; or a campaign to discover the nature of the Burrowers are stop them. The period that I am most interested in, however, is 5300 as the Burrower Wars are just about to erupt. In that sense, the Burrowers are foremost a part of the setting background and not necessarily the endgame goal of a campaign.
Your Thonia is on Skothar just like in my version, right? I thought your focus would be on the Isle of Dawn region? I like the idea of working with the Burrowers as a sort of background element.
Robert of Geneva could be an analog to the mortal form of Khoronus, this being the rendering of his name in a Blackmoor era time. And harkening back on the origin of "Thonia", the settlement of Mohacs could come after dealing with Chthonic entities tied to the Burrowers.
This is pretty interesting. I like the idea of Robert I being Khoronus, although theoretically Mohacs could predate Thonia. Robert being the founder of the Empire, not the city (though he could be the founder of both). Robert is also specified as the founder of Blackmoor however.

I definitely see a role for such an entity. Kopru are definitely an allowable creature during this period. Two of the inspiration concepts I had was Leviathan and Dagon. The Klarkasz-like creature could just rise up out of the surf and stand still as subjects worshipped it, disappearing beneath the ways after ceremonies. An adventure could include a Samson-styled character that topples the statuary and temple of such a creature.
One possibility is that we use a loose definition of the term Burrower. Not all of these creatures resemble the Great Annelids. However, all are powerful servants of the Outer Beings, becoming Mystara's equivalents of the Elder Evils from 3E. If we include the Leviathan, this could be the same creature that later plagued King Milen (providing a link to a later age)!

Similarly, Zargon could be in controll of south-eastern Brun at this time.

I am also wondering about using Tsaothoggua/Brr'brrt/Stodos as such a creature, being responsible for the original Order of the Frog.Under this definition the Egg of Coot would also fit, resulting in two Greater Servants of the Outer Beings on Skothar at this time. I like the idea of the Egg being a rare creature being able to awaken from its slumber during the Blackmoorian Age.

For Dagon, I have suggested that he could be the same entity as Slissark the Lurker elsewhere. Could it be possible that these creatures ascend to immortality?

The Samson-like shattering of evil temples is pretty inspiring by the way!
Another thought I've had is the nature of the power that the Burrowers possess. By and large they (and the kopru) are really psionic forces. What if the reason there are no notable psionics in Mystara today is because the immobilizing of the Burrowers was an "ESP-bomb" or Magneto-styled telepathy blocker that stripped the potential from all but the rarest of individuals even into the present? [The Time artifact in the Serpent Peninsula that grants precog abilities to the Yavi counteracts this effect?]
I love this! It really makes sense doesn't it? Also, for those who wish to include Psionics in the greater Sind/Serpent Peninsula area, that could be attributed to the Yavi artifact growing in effect? 8-)

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by OldDawg » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:02 am

Havard wrote:
I have Thonia being founded in BC 5000, though these dates aren't really all that specific. Thonia should be about 1000 years by the time of the classic Blackmoor era, but other than that there's room for some flexibility.
No difference from what I posted. Thonia as a formal entity is founded 5000 BC (approx). Blackmoor (specifically, the DA series) is ~ 4000 BC.
Your Thonia is on Skothar just like in my version, right? I thought your focus would be on the Isle of Dawn region?
Yep, NE coast of Skothar with the Northern Marches etc. as parts of the Frosthaven-Ur-Alphatian Landbridge to the Nentsun Peninsula. My focus is the IoD, which is one reason why I said my main preference would be to not concentrate on the proto-Thonians.
I like the idea of Robert I being Khoronus, although theoretically Mohacs could predate Thonia.
I have Mohacs at 5200 BC, and the First Republic at 5000 BC. (via Mishler's timeline I believe)
Robert is also specified as the founder of Blackmoor however.
In what source? I know he's mentioned on a timeline at your site, but he was never mentioned in the DA series to the best of my recollection.
One possibility is that we use a loose definition of the term Burrower. Not all of these creatures resemble the Great Annelids.
I'd prefer keeping the term more restricted, but I have no problem with other "Elder Evils" like the kopru popping up. The worms just get all the publicity ;)
If we include the Leviathan, this could be the same creature that later plagued King Milen (providing a link to a later age)!
No, it was the bearsharktopus!!!!
Similarly, Zargon could be in controll of south-eastern Brun at this time.
As SE Brun really wouldn't feature in the Burrower Wars (ice cap and all), I doubt Zargon will make an appearance either. I'd rather leave him as one of the ancient horrors whose prison was weakened by the Burrorwers but whose release came from Cynidceans who "dug too deep."
I am also wondering about using Tsaothoggua/Brr'brrt/Stodos as such a creature, being responsible for the original Order of the Frog.
Not sure I know who the first two are. I sense my AD&D-fu is weak today. The Order of the Frog was listed as being founded in Vestfold in 4128 BC on the timeline I mentioned above. Which puts it well outside the window of the Burrower Wars.
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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by OldDawg » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:34 am

For people wishing to contribute to this project, I've just opened up a new thread under OldDawg Presents to discuss what are the suitable player classes for this setting.

General discussion of the setting should remain here.

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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by Seer of Yhog » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:56 am

Random thought before I go to bed (midnight - eek!)

If we're trying to invoke CAS and REH here, then in addition to the Burrowers we should have unwholesome servitors running around wreaking havoc, too. These would literally be the horrifying spawn of the dark that inhabit deep forests and devour everything they encounter, and occasionally descend on villages, too. They would add a real sense of dread to the setting, making it a place where nature really can kill you.

If we are using OBs, then their servitors - perhaps co-opted by the Burrowers - would make sense. Otherwise, the Burrowers might have their own nasty critters to do their bidding (in addition to pawns).
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Re: MYSTARA 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars

Post by OldDawg » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:28 am

As Temple of the Frog and St. Stephen are over a millenium off the mark for the Burrower Wars, I think we probably need a thread split about now. Any mod help?

Done,
although some information about Khoronus/Robert of Geneva may have been moved in the split. - Havard


[Although at its end, Robert of Geneva is still within the time frame under discussion.]
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