D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
by Cam Banks
Editor's Note: This was originally posted on WotC's Dragonlance boards from February 2, 2004.
Had an interesting idea for a campaign this morning. Of course, it would be pretty devastating, but you never know - all campaigns in Dragonlance should have a beginning and an end, really, rather than being open-ended, so why not?
The premise is that mysticism draws upon the living web of Krynn, the wild magic that is deeply connected to the souls of mortals, that "divine spark" which is reached through personal faith. It's already been established that if mysticism existed prior to the Fifth Age, it was minor indeed - minor telepathy among the elves, for instance. So, clearly things were raised to a higher level by the sundering of the Graygem.
We pick a group of mystics with some reason not to be interested in giving it up or turning to the "true" gods. The Knights of the Skull make an excellent choice, or at least one faction of them. Morham Targonne's old cadre of thought control, for example, minus their leader of course. Alternately, you could take some fringe group from somewhere else, but the idea is to provide some kind of organized group of mystics who will stop at nothing to retain their power.
Then, in the course of a "normal" campaign against the machinations of these Dark Knights, and with the newly-restored Holy Orders of the Stars making efforts to regain members, you drop the bomb so to speak that Ansalon's mystics are about to lose control of the magic they've been using for the past few years. By drawing upon the living energy of Krynn, the antagonist mystics overreach themselves in order to hold off their opponents, and trigger a surge in mystic power.
This surge, like a breach in a dam that spreads cracks through the dam walls, begins to spiral out of control. Life forces in the immediate vicinity are snuffed out as power is drained from them and channeled into the dark mystic's spell. The spell itself takes on a life of its own, pulling in more and more life energy from the environment in order to sustain itself. It would be like a storm of anti-life, moving out of Neraka and into the surrounding regions, killing anything in its path.
You could tie in a number of things to this eventual disaster, from the creation of anti-life "undead" animated by the storm (similar to shadow wights, or perhaps even identical to them), to the response of the Solamnics, the ogres, the draconians of Teyr, and the gods themselves. One particularly spectacular moment might occur when one of the gods manifests to help his followers turn back the anti-life storm, only to have his own divine spark (in all of its might) drawn into the storm, elevating it to a truly godlike force.
How would it end? What consequences would such an event have to the life of those on Ansalon, or indeed Krynn as a whole? There's a lot of potential in this to echo some of the themes of the Chaos War and apocalyptic movies in which nature runs amok due to the fallible nature of mortal ambition, etc.
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