L is for Lorwyn

This article is part of a series for both the April 2020 RPG Blog Carnival and the 2020 Blogging A to Z Challenge.

magic-card-symbol-morningtideLorwyn is an idyllic world where races of fable thrive in perpetual midsummer. Its dark reflection, Shadowmoor, exists in perpetual gloom, its citizens bitterly transformed and locked in a desperate battle for survival.

Lorwyn is the land where the sun never sets. Covered with dense forests, meandering rivers, and gently rolling meadows, it knows no nights or winters. One of the few planes without humans, it’s populated by the short-statured kithkin, hot-tempered flamekin, petty-thief boggarts, territorial treefolk, diplomatic merfolk, iconoclastic giants, and mischievous faeries, all living together in harmony. Also among them: the elves, Lorwyn’s most favored and feared race. In a world of unspoiled nature, they consider themselves the paragons of this beauty. Signs of elvish supremacy are widespread, from their gilded forest palaces to their mercilessness toward “lesser” races. Despite the elves’ dominion, Lorwyn’s people thrive, respecting community and tradition.

The mirror-image of Lorwyn, Shadowmoor is a realm of perpetual dusk and gloom. Here, the plane’s races, without knowledge of their previous selves, are locked in a life-and-death struggle for survival. Like the plane itself, its denizens are transformed into darker versions of themselves. The kithkin, once communal and cooperative, are isolated and xenophobic. The helpful, silver-tongued merfolk are now assassins and saboteurs. The boggarts, once mischievous and hedonistic, are vicious and warlike. The blighted treefolk are murderous. Wrathful giants drag around huge pieces of the land. The transformations of the flamekin and elves are perhaps the most dramatic. Once bright and seeking transcendence, the flamekin are now smoking skeletons seeking revenge. Meanwhile, the vain elves are humbled and heroic in Shadowmoor, protecting every glimmer of beauty and light.

Only one race and one place remain unchanged: the faeries and their home of Glen Elendra. The fae are the fulcrum of this transforming plane—for it was their queen, Oona, who caused it. At the end of the Eventide, the Great Aurora is no more, although the resulting plane’s structure and races have not been disclosed yet. Maralen was one of the main participants in the return of the natural day/night cycle to the plane.

“When the Great Aurora comes, an epoch of darkness descends.”

The Great Aurora, by Sam Burcley

For your campaign

The Great Aurora was an event that changed the plane of Lorwyn to its dark and twisted counterpart Shadowmoor, and vice versa. Each Great Aurora was caused by Oona through her lengthening of the normal days and nights of Lorwyn to last for centuries at a time. The Great Aurora depicted in the Lorwyn and Shadowmoor block novels occurred sooner than Oona intended it to, as a result of the Great Mending. As a precaution, Oona killed the elf Maralen in order to make a duplicate of the elf to house her memories in. Oona did this because she was afraid the early Aurora would affect her like the rest of the plane because she did not cause it.

New event: The Great Aurora

Campaign events are introduced in the DungeonMaster’s Guide (p.26). The Great Aurora is a world-shaking event that fits in the Cataclysmic Disaster category as “magic gone awry or a planar warp”.

636325420266813733In this particular case, the Aurora affects the whole plane with an effect that is simple to describe, but complex to take to your table: the alignment warp of everyone involved. Mechanically speaking, is identical to the effects of the Balance card of the Deck of Many Things: “your mind suffers a wrenching alteration, causing your Alignment to change. Lawful becomes chaotic, good becomes evil, and vice versa. If you are true neutral or unaligned, this card has no effect on you”.

The memories of everyone affected are not changed: just the perspective of what to do. They even may not understand why they acted the way they did so far! Up to the DM, they can be aware of the shift: this can make it easier to follow the campaign goal without too much work. Turned-evil characters don’t necessarily enjoy being evil and it won’t be rare for neutral characters to step up in positions of leadership.

I fuggest to only introduce such an event as the Great Aurora at the beginning of your campaign to have the characters find out how to get the world back in its rightful order, or mostly at the end, as the mastermind’s plan has succeeded, until the heroes can actually revert it, of course.

 


Have you ever dealth with alignment issues? Have you made a player change their character’s alignment to better match their actions?

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