Background: I asked Allen if he had any ideas for a "Return to..." type sequel to the Blood Brethren Trilogy (HWA1-3), and here is his answer:
This lead to a series of responses:Allen Varney wrote:My original pitch to TSR's Bruce Heard for the HWA Hollow World trilogy of adventures was that, at the end, the PCs would help destroy the Immortals' Spell of Preservation that kept each Hollow World culture static and unchanging. This would open the setting for the players to make major changes, if they wished -- to reform evil customs and take part in building a new (hollow) world. The Spell of Preservation was a convenient rationale for the persistence of these historical cultures across millennia, but once the campaign begins, the device loses its purpose.Havard wrote:Allen, if you were asked to write a follow up module to the HWA-trilogy, perhaps a Return to the Hollow World or something like that, are there any elements you would have liked to include?
Bruce Heard, who guided the Mystara line with extremely close attention by TSR's standards, demurred. He thought, having gone to all this trouble to set up the Hollow World this way, why immediately go and screw up the basic premise in the first adventures? Consequently, the ending of HWA3 kind of lacks thematic oomph, for at the time I couldn't think of a good alternative. (See my early post in this thread about the terrible writer's block I was suffering at the time.)
I think both views, mine and Bruce's, have merit -- but I still think the Spell of Preservation is a bad obstacle to PC adventurers, much like the Prime Directive in Star Trek. I would still get rid of it if I could.
Cthulhudrew wrote: Very interesting, and I can see where (given the conclusion to HWA3 and several other elements introduced in the modules along the way) you were steering things towards this goal.
Like you, I can see the merits of both opinions, but I think I would also probably eliminate the SoP in a HW centric campaign. One thing that I have been discovering as I've been making efforts at trying to come up with some follow-up HW Gazetteers in the TSR vein (several in various stages of progress), is that it is very hard to try and make a satisfying and fulfilling campaign within the rather narrow parameters of the SoP. As is, the HW campaign seems to really only function well as an overland, genre/era crossing setting, where one constantly introduces outsider PCs to new variations on settings. When trying to play a native campaign- particularly one that is more or less self-contained within one area- it becomes a bit harder to do, IMO.
Not to mention that some areas (Kubitts, Gentle Folk, Blacklore Elves) really require some major work to function as fleshed out campaign settings in their own right, and instead seem to be little more than one-off oddity encounters ("Pacifistic Elves, wow, that's weird." Dramatic pause. "Okay, let's move along now.")
Havard wrote:Allen, forgive me for going into fanboy mode here, but this answer is way more awesome than what I expected!I understand Bruce's reasoning, but I have also found the Spell of Preservation the most problematic aspect of the HW.
Having the changes to the setting occur in a module set perhaps 10-15 years after the original HWA series might make more sense since by that point people will be expecting changes anyway. A campaign leading up to the destruction of the Spell of Preservation could be totally epic. I envsion an adventure visiting several of the major HW cultures, digging up clues or somehow working towards their final goal. Which HW countries need be involved? Since it is a sequel to the HWA trilogy, I would suggest that Shajapur and Ashmorain are somehow involved.
An alternative to the destruction of the SoP might be tweaking it somehow. Something bothers me about removing an element altogether. Changing it radically perhaps, but maybe leaving some kind of residue, like a sort of curse?
night_druid wrote:Ending the Spell of Preservation in Hollow World may force the immortals to create a new culture perserve *cough*Mystaraspace*cough*, while allowing Hollow World to change. Heck, they might like to see what falls out...throwing some chaos into the system.
Hugin wrote:In many ways I think we as DMs are the worst part of the Spell of Preservation. It allows a whole lot of things to change, just look at the Azcans. It isn't as restrictive as we play it to be.
Gawain_VIII wrote:I think an epic adventure that leads to a weakened SoP shouldn't be part of Blood Brethren's finale--rather it should be a new set of adventures (cover designed by Havard) in which the PCs are a key element in Eriadna's goals to return Alphatia to the OW. Like WotI, final outcome is directly affected by PC actions. In the end, it will be the PCs who determine Ariadna's degree of success. The more successful, the weaker the SoP--resulting in a "returned" Alphatia (and a very unhappy Zandor).
Cthulhudrew wrote: There were a few loopholes allowing for the possibility of one or the other Blood Brothers surviving, as I recall- and I even had Thanatos resurrect them to try and regain control of the humanoids in the outer world for my Great Crater gazetteer (with an eye towards turning Koresh Teyd- a far more powerful wizard- into the successor to the Council of Princes after deposing Kol XIV).
That said, I think there were a lot more plot points from the HWA series that I would prefer to see developed for a sequel than the Blood Brothers. Several elements of Shahjapur (the Kirtanta, for one); doing some more with the Schattenalfen (who only get a brief cameo in the first two adventures). Perhaps playing with elements of the shards from the Smoking Mirror that shattered and may be working their Spell of Preservation deadening effects on parts of the HW cultures below?
Not to mention the Feathered Serpents.
Maybe we should plot out a Hollow World Adventure Path?
I didn't include every idea piched, but more ideas can be found in the original discussion.Chimpman wrote:Not only would I love to see this happen, but I'd love to be a part of it too.
Let's discuss this fascinating topic further here, so we can avoid from cluttering up Allen's thread any further?