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.