The party has become embroiled in a world and dimension-spanning competition for a dangerous artifact that could cause the destruction of the world of Mystara. Below is a synopsis of what they have learned so far. Of course, they could always throw in the towel and sail across the Sea of Dread in search of treasure.
The Radiance – A source of dangerous power that has the ability to bend space, time and magic. The glowing, many-legged creatures of Corran Keep and withered limbs of members of the Brotherhood of the Radiance suggests it also can cause mutations in living creatures. It seems to cause repeated space-time rifts and portals and its presence can cause spells to go awry with bizarre consequences – Arcanists have come to refer to these side effects of the Radiance as "the Wyrd." Experienced Arcanists can manipulate it to empower their castings. However, Rheddrian warns using its power as such actually drains magic from the fabric of Mystara and, if abused on a large enough scale, could drain magic almost entirely from Mystara killing its many magical races and causing unknown havoc. Its use could also unbalance the Spheres of Power causing untold destruction. The party witnessed both of these dangers in Stephen d' Amberville's mausoleum – Niko successfully manipulated the Radiance via the Mirror Shield to drain magical life force from Rathanos and the unleashed forces of the Spheres of Power violently tore the tomb and its pocket dimension apart.
To date, the party has not located the Radiance, but, in ancient Blackmoor, they discovered that is presence was associated with the black, twinkling stone scattered across that land. They learned those stones were most concentrated near ruined, elvin Uvaeren and the Valley of the Ancients – home to the City of the Gods. A falling star both destroyed Uvaeren and carved out the Valley of the Ancients centuries before the founding of Blackmoor. Four thousand years later, in their own time, the party first encountered the Wyrd in The Broken Lands (in Corran Keep and when a wild magic storm wrecked their ship) and experienced it in Amon-Gorlath's tomb (though that was a result of the effects of the presence of the inter-dimensional being Amon-Gorlath).
Rheddrian has asked the party to find out whatever they can about the Radiance and its location and has expressed that he fears the growing global war on Mystara may be a result of Immortal competition to obtain it.
Rheddrian – A benefactor of the party, they originally discovered Rheddrian in Corran Keep trapped in the Mirror Shield – an effect caused by the Radiance. Upon being released, he grew large, green and disappeared. They then encountered him again in Blackmoor (normal-sized, but with a slightly greenish tint), a captive in the Temple of the Frog (a place filled with strange technological magics). Returning to their own time, Rheddrian sought out their aid with Mystara's growing troubles.
His memory fuzzy from his thousands of years trapped in the Mirror Shield, Rheddrian and the party pieced together that he arrived to Mystara from across the stars. His ship malfunctioned and crashed into the planet. He was awoken from a long sleep by mutineers and ended up their prisoner in the Temple of the Frog. The mutineers were intent on using the Frog cult to build an army to capture further magics from the City of the Gods before the party disrupted their plans and rescued Rheddrian and his shipmate Rafiel. When he learned of this, King Uther of Blackmoor offered the party great reward to lead an expedition to the City of the Gods, but they turned him down in favor of returning to their own time.
In a bid to gain their loyalty, Rathanos told the party that the "man in the shield" had been made immortal by his sojourn there and his exposure to the Radiance.
Immortal Conflict – Rheddrian is deeply concerned that the world war breaking out across Mystara runs deeper than typical political turmoil and reflects a war being fought amongst the Immortals, particularly because of the suspicious way in which it started. Adding credence to this theory, whilst in the tent city of Sayr Ulan on the hunt for The Master, the party encountered his Vizier Ikol – whom they later realized was in fact Loki – an Immortal of the Entropic Sphere! They learned from Loki that three factions of Immortals are warring amongst themselves – Star, Fire and Shadow. So far, they know that Shadow, a collection of Entropic Immortals seeks only to prolong and exacerbate the burgeoning world war for the benefit of their own sphere (hence, the Second War of the Desert Nomads). It appears to be led by some demonic face that appeared to the party out of a whirling sandstorm and who is making trouble in Norwold. Loki seemed satisfied with simply causing trouble for each of these factions.
Having the tracked the Mirror Shield to the hidden tomb of Stephen d'Amberville, the party learned that the Fellowship of the Star is led by the Immortal Rad and its members include Rathanos, whom they fought for control of the Shield, a "lion woman" and the "man wearing spectacles." According to Rathanos, the Fellowship seeks to use the Radiance and sensitive objects to create Immortals and overturn the existing Immortal hierarchy.
Rathanos charged the Ring of Fire and its leader Ixion with seeking to enforce old fashioned traditions and hierarchy, which ultimately enslaves mortals to the wills of the gods. It appeared that Ilsundal, patron of elves and Alfheim, is also a member of the Ring of Fire.
The party must also wonder whether the strange, blue elf The Rahib encountered in the Temple of the Gray Mountain and the vengeance he promised on behalf of the sons and daughters of Rafiel has anything to do with this conflict.
Chaos – In addition to the battling gods of Mystara, it appears the cultists of malevolent extra-planar interstellar beings are also seeking the Radiance. Rheddrian surmises they seek to use it open an inter-dimensional rift that would allow them to land an unstoppable, horrific invasion force that would consume all of Mystara. Currently, their warbands appear to be gathering atop a large plateau in The Broken Lands.
The forces of Chaos, called by many names, such as Warp Demons, the Elder Gods, the Great Old Ones or the Other Gods, are always lurking at the edges of civilization. They seduce vulnerable minds prone to evil and corrupt them with offers of power. Ultimately, however, few mortal minds can handle the aberrant horror of these beings and their sanity and bodies succumb to madness and deformity. Typically, such cults pop up only to come to an end in orgiastic bloodshed. What makes corruption most dangerous is that, once its taint takes hold in a civilization, it can spread through it like wildfire. Therefore, the taint of chaos must be stamped out at all costs.
The Elder Gods themselves exist apart from the structure of the universe and the Spheres of Power, but are often associated with the corruption of a specific sphere. For example, the Nithian followers of Amon-Gorlath became fire worshipping fanatics, as that being is connected to the Sphere of Energy, the sphere associated with magic and fire.
Followers of the forces of chaos can often be spotted by the signs of corruption their bodies bear or their lack of sanity. Devoted cultists often also sport a blackened sun as a symbol of their allegiance.
Brotherhood of the Radiance - A secretive group of wizards seeking after objects associated with the Radiance, such as the fabled Mirror Shield, which they stole from under the party's nose. Rheddrian is concerned what they might learn from it and hopes for its return. In pursuit of the Shield the party traveled to Glantri City (where some of the initiates of the Brotherhood attend the Great School of Magic). Little was known of the Brotherhood before the party ventured to Glantri City, except that some of it members wear a particular Pendant.
However, the party ultimately learned a number of startling facts about the Brotherhood in Glantri, an alternate reality Averoigne and the hidden pocket dimension of Stephen d'Amberville's tomb. Most surprising, they learned that not only was Stephen d' Amberville, Prince of Glantri and Grandmaster of the Great School, the head of the Brotherhood of the Radiance, but he was also the mortal disguise of the Immortal Rad. Rad had been using this mortal disguise to manipulate the Brotherhood and the Shepherds of Rad to further the aims of the Fellowship of the Star. Before his demise, Pennar revealed to the party that the Brotherhood hoped to learn how to use the Radiance as a weapon in Glantri's war against Alphatia.
Naturally, these revelations delighted Prince Malapietra – Prince Amberville's chief political rival – who encouraged the party to carry on their investigation and campaign of murder and intimidation against the Brotherhood.
Now the party must decide what to do next…
Other potential leads the party has are:
- Some malevolent force sickening the Trees of Life of Alfheim
- Their demonic nemesis of the Shadow faction poisoning Norwold
- A mad duke in Vestland whose madness may be a sign of the corruption of Chaos
- The forces of Chaos mustering in The Broken Lands
- A map to an unknown shore that promises treasure
- A deep pit and tunnel under the ruined Chateau d'Amberville leading who knows where