Radiance/Blackmoor alternative theory
from the Mystara Mailing List posted 30 May 2005.
Although I have from time to time been fascinated by the sci-fi elements of the City of the Gods, the Federation, and the Beagle, it has always been clear that my players would not respond favourably if I ever introduced such things in my campaigns. They prefer a more pure form of fantasy, although they would accept Steam Punk.
So for a long time, I have been wondering if there could be a way to work around that problem and still get some use out of the DA series. And now, I think I have found it:
The City of the Gods (Heresy version):
The thing that created the Valley of the Ancients was not a spaceship, it was in fact a Fallen God (or Immortal, or Old One). For unknown reason, this mighty being fell, the impact of his body creating the valley.
The Beagle Crew (Heresy Version):
Captain Riesling and his crew still exist in this version, but they are no longer aliens, simply a Mercenary Company from Thonia, who sought to learn the secrets of the Valley of the Ancients. They were known as the Foxhound Company. Although none had previously returned from the Valley alive, the Foxhound Company made it there. They found the gigantic petrified body of the God, almost completely buried in the sand. The body radiated with powerful magic in spite of the God being dead. The mercenaries were bewitched by the magic, and decided to protect it from others who might befoul the dead God. The leader especially was gradually going insane from these magics. The Company entered the body, through its wide open mouth. The strongest magic radiated from his heart. A group were set to especially guard this part, among them Rheddrian Benekander (see WotI).
Meanwhile, Stephen Rocklin, Capt Riesling's second in command was planning a revolt against Riesling. He, and a few others escaped into the swamps (as per DA2). There they befriended (not created) the Froglin and joined the Cult of the Frog. Stephen eventually became High Priest of the Cult.
Rather than technology, the City of the Gods (ie the God) bestowed upon the company innate magical powers. These correspond to whatever technology the various members possess. Some of it included technomancy, which will explain part of Blackmoors later rise in power, tying it in with the Mystara timeline, although there are other sources of Tech as well such as the Egg of Coot and the Dwarves.
The Radiance is now transformed into the Heart of the God, instead of the Space Ships reactor. If the Being found in the Valley is in fact an Old One, that would help explain why the Old Ones would change it into the Nucleus of the Spheres at a later point as well. Or perhaps it already was becoming the Nucleus, gradually, on its own, and was only moved by the Old Ones (or Noumena) to Glantri at a later point, assuming Blackmoor is on Skothar.
This will allow me to run the original modules more or less as is without involving space ships, lasers or other stuff. What do you think?