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Month Index: March, 1994


From:     Joseph_DuBois.WBST102A@?????.com
Date:     Wed, 23 Mar 1994 10:38:59 -0500
Subject:  Re: Myrkandite 6
 Part 6
Other worlds:  Sadly, soon after his return from Krynn, Cameron was
struck with an illness both debilitating and contagious, contracted
perhaps on one of the many moons he visited as he slowly made his
way home.  The finest clerics in Waterdeep could do nothing except
quarantine him for the duration of the disease, a disease which
consumed his life over 10 years.
     During that time, however, the other mages in his coven agreed
to assist him in any way they could.  All Cameron asked was for the
tower to be enlarged, giving him the freedom to perform
experimentation.  He spent ten years, locked in that wing, and
although the days were filled with the sound of never-ending
construction and destruction, the nights filled with screams of
pain and triumph, and the air stank with the odor of heavy magick,
no one dared enter.
     Finally, one day, the coven awoke to find the noise had
stopped.  There, in the middle of the room, was a small pile of
Myrkandite, a strange chair which thrummed divination magic, and a
crystal ball somehow connected to the chair.  Cameron was nowhere
to be seen.
     The only other thing out of the ordinary was a sheaf of
papers, ready for binding.  Within, Cameron tells how he developed
a machine to project his consciousness into other worlds, to enter
the minds of the denizens, to find within their history and legends
knowledge of the strange substance.  The majority of the coven's
mages denounced it as the work of a raving madman, but others were
not so quick to dismiss the results.  In truth, no mage possessed
the courage to operate the device, to confirm or deny the theories,
so it was left at that.
     Within the book was a careful cataloguing of each world, each
planetoid that Cameron's mind touched in its long sojourn.  Each
planet moved farther and farther from Toril, eventually penetrating
the crystal sphere to other worlds, other places.  What followed
was perhaps the most complete inventory of inhabited worlds.  Only
a fraction of the worlds, perhaps ten in the hundreds discovered,
had any hints of Myrkandite.
     Beyond these, however, lay two chapters, separated from the
rest.  Only one had ever been heard of before, and that was in
legend.  The details of these were sufficiently fantastic to cast
doubt upon the entire work.  What was written has been presented
here, for the curious.
 
Ravenloft:  Cameron's search led him through some of the finest
libraries, not only in the Realms, but in all the worlds his mind
visited.  Not only did he study the legends of these worlds, but
also legends of other worlds, and other times, concentrating
especially on weapons that seemed "to fall from the heavens."  This
would adequately describe Myrkandite, and its extraplanetary
origin.
     However, the more delving Cameron did, the more he discovered
one legend in particular, repeated over and over.  All worlds, all
cultures had vivid versions of an afterlife, both positive and
negative.  From descriptions given, it was simple placing them as
locations in the Outer Planes.  However, one in particular eluded
him.  
     It was a place, as normal as the world from which the legend
sprung, and yet it was dark.  All of them matched the pattern
exactly, an evil reflection of the normalcy.  The one thing they
all had in common was the form of passage:  a portal of mist. 
Strangest of all, those who travelled this land could enter the
dark reflection of other worlds.  Thus, those who entered through
the Greyhawk reflection could travel to the Krynn reflection, and
escape to Krynn.  If they could escape.
     It was a place of terrors, and as far as Cameron could divine,
it was impossible to reach, except by the truly evil and the truly
unfortunate.  Still, he watched and studied, discovering that
natural portals to this nightmare world opened regularly.  It was
a simple matter of doing the unthinkable:  finding when a portal
opened, and following the doomed inside.  This he did, and mourned
the loss of the young boy, lost in the woods.
     He travelled freely, and almost immediately discovered what he
was seeking.  There was a material known as bloodiron that was
almost as feared as the Lords who held each realm in their sway. 
Those samples which existed seem to come from other worlds, other
realms.  No forging of the bloodiron seemed possible, because of
the peculiar properties.  Still, the legends spoke of diabolic
tools of restraint and torture employing the crimson metal.
     Cameron gives no indication how he escaped the horrid place;
only that it was more terrible than his means of entering.
 
     Despite the fact that Ravenloft is an amalgam of
     different worlds, each possessing different Myrkandite
     properties, there is a unified effect while on the
     demiplane of horror.  The metal turns a deep scarlet, and
     becomes almost slick to the touch; thus the source of the
     name.
          In many ways, the Ravenloft properties of Myrkandite
     closely follow those of the Forgotten Realms, with one
     savage difference.  On Ravenloft, the kinetic energy of
     a strike is not absorbed; it is instead magnified.  Thus,
     a weapon forged of the substance will double the amount
     of force inflicted, effectively doubling the damage. 
     However, this amplification is not without its cost.  It
     backlashes on the wielder, inflicting the standard damage
     on the attacker.  Thus, if a fighter strikes for 7 points
     damage (including all bonuses) with a myrkandite sword,
     his victim takes 14 points, while he himself takes 7. 
     Subsequently, the only practical use is as a ranged
     weapon.
          As can be imagined, a piece of Myrkandite armor is
     deadly.  Anyone wearing the armor takes twice normal
     damage from attacks, but inflicts the kinetic backlash on
     any melee attackers.  Thus, the only practical use is as
     a trap, or to be worn by something immune to normal
     damage, such as certain types of undead.
          Note that all materials fashioned out of Myrkandite
     probably were brought over through the Mists, since the
     very act of pounding the metal into shape would kill the
     blacksmith.  Since Myrkandite ranged weapons were always
     rare, they would be next to impossible to find in
     Ravenloft.
 
     Durel's Manacles:  An insidious device, they consist of
     a standard set of iron manacles lined with small pieces
     of Myrkandite.  Any attempt to break out through force or
     picking the lock will result in kinetic backlash. 
     Forcing them open will do (1d4 + Str bonus)*2.  Each
     failed lockpick roll will do 2 pts damage to the wearer. 
     The only safe way to remove them is with the key.
 
Athas:  The second chapter, a place Cameron referred to only as
Athas, seems absolutely normal compared to the first.  However, to
the mage, it was a horrid place, a desert land of dying and endless
suffering.  Apparently there his soul form, normally invisible and
invulnerable, took on a material aspect.
     He came there only after finding another spirit, travelling in
a manner very similar to the one he was employing.  The spirit
seemed amazed to find someone, normally going to this place for
solitude.  Cameron agreed, and was almost killed when his guide
turned on him.
     Barely escaping, he fled into a vast desert.  Cameron was
alone, dressed only in his study clothes, with no provisions and no
spells memorized.  Further, the myrkandite he was carrying also
travelled with him, something that had never happened before.  
    



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