Friday, June 14, 2019

Wrath of the Immortals by Aaron Allston, Mystara, & The Immortals Box Set By Frank Mentzer

"Immortals. Warriors of the outer planes ...

Wrath of the Immortals unveils untold secrets of how to create and role-play Immortals in the World of Mystara and other dimensions. The frightening powers of the Immortals, their strange worlds, and their secret alliances are revealed at last, but is it in time?
And then, the final confrontation! In the name of the Immortals, the two greatest empires of the Known World clash in a brutal war. The world has gone mad... will both disappear from the face of the earth?"

Yes I totally stole this from Wayne's books but I order from him so

Was D&D Immortal Rules Set (1986), by Frank Mentzer, set too radical for its time period?!Personally I love the gold D&D box set & I've actually used it extensively. For me its not simply another beauty to sit on a shelf. The PC's are heroes through their adventures (if they survive) & Mentzer's box set is the culmination of this. Wrath of the Immortals, written by Aaron Allston in '92 caught me like a sucker punch. I wasn't expecting this box set & no I don't think that replaced the D&D Immortal Rules Set (1986), by Frank Mentzer so much as enhance it.  No I'm not talking about the world changing Mystara events of Wrath of the Immortals. 

It wouldn't be until years later that I'd learn the full extent of the controversy that surrounds the Wrath of the Immortals box set. I picked up the Wrath box set in K.B. Toys for around seven dollars or so in '93 or '94  when they were blowing them out. I totally ignored all of the world altering events in Wrath as optional. Some of the really neat bits of the Wrath of the Immortal box set was: "Create new worlds, wondrous artifacts, and entire new races!
• Complete rules to create and role-play PC and NPC Immortals
• Details a host of awe-inspiring Immortals in the Known World, the HOLLOW WORLD and the outer planes
• Reveals all on the mysterious Pandius, City of the Immortals
• Contains a 128-page referee's guide with Immortal-level spells, abilities, character classes, and monsters; a 96-page campaign saga covering the entire war; two new, updated poster-sized maps of the Known World and the empires."

Then there's the excellent cartography & maps that came with the  Wrath of the Immortals box set.
So yes there is the fact that there is a six year BCEMI Dungeons & Dragons campaign called Immortals Fury  within the box set but its going to radically alter Mystara completely if played through. But Havard brought up a point way back in 2010 in the Enworld thread I referenced; "
If you are going to change things, you might as well make the changes severe. 

Still, this is a fantasy setting we are talking about. If the players are set on it, there is no reason not to have changing everything back possible, should the players want to.

I am certainly planning on having Alfheim restored and Alphatia return to the surface eventually.

My main beef with WotI and the products set after it, is rather the changes that "fixed" problems of the AC1000 era, but failed to replace them with other situations. For instance, if the Black Eagle has been removed from Karameikos and Clerics are allowed in Glantri, how does that make the setting more interesting?


So in this regard I can actually see running the Immortals Fury campaign & then doing a completely soft reboot of the Mystara setting for home campaign play. But which box set is superior? Well referencing The Dragon's Foot site thread 
Original Immortals box set vs. Wrath of the Immortals thread. 

Dragon's Foot member They are quite different, both in scope and execution. Frank's work is much more complete (and complex, I would add), detailing the whole cosmology of the D&D universe. It also presents a rather different treatment of the Immortals. 
WotI is much simpler, both in its descriptions, and in the rules. It presents a list of many Immortals, which are shown with their powers and the abilities they grant clerics, whereas in Frank's work this tie with clerics is not so explicit. 
I would say that they are quite different works, and worth having both. 


Taking into account both box sets allows the dungeon master to cherry pick what & which systems are going to work best for them. In my mind Frank Mentzer's Immortal set has incredibly broad strokes of world building & even Immortal PC design. But 
Wrath of the Immortals, written by Aaron Allston from  '92 has some really solid additions to the Mystara setting. Mentzer's take has a very different and very interesting cosmology and Immortal characters. The sample Known World Immortals and their tie-in clerics are  a handy little short cut into the Mystara world campaign setting. With all of that being said I think that the one thing that no one mentions is the fact that The Hollow World set is a must if your going to run Fury of the Immortals!

Not only is it a great reference but there are several key events that tie directly into the Fury of the Immortals adventure. Now that being said I think that there's also the fact that the PC's could become major influences on the Hollow World setting in light of the events of Fury of the Immortals.  Do I think that 
Wrath of the Immortals, written by Aaron Allston from  '92 is still relevant? Well if coupled with Frank Mentzer's Immortal box set then it becomes a great addition to Mystara.  

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