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Old 11-30-2008, 01:17 AM   #1
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The deep dark haunted woods
Default "Age of Gold" and Merlin-4

Some time ago, I started a thread about a possible worldline - Merlin-4, where the Tunguska Event of 1908 created a Hellstorm and imbued the world with magic. The thread petered out with no real resolution.

Just recently, I acquired the Gurps Thaumatology: Age of Gold supplement. And it occured to me that once again the guys at SJG have hit on exactly what I wanted!

The world the supplement describes as "Mandrake-1" could easily be "Merlin-4". There would have been no magic before 1908. All the fragments of failed Philosopher's Stone lying around the world could have been inert until the Tunguska event "jump-started" them. It just took the rest of the world time to notice the magic and no one has yet connected the event to an almost-forgotten event in Siberia. The Tunguska Hellstorm could be bubbling away merrily in the heart of Siberia without anyone knowing save the locals.

The magic of the world conforms to the paradigms of magic. And magic at the time is a secretive art based on old traditions. Hence alchemy and ritual magic. But the scientific/industrial paradigm hasn't been applied to magic because it's not "public domain" yet - the magic culture of "Mandrake-1" is still wainscotting-type, albeit one with the wainscotting in the process of being peeled off.

The anti-magic worldview of Stalin's Soviet Union could actually originate from shamans casting "Keep-The-Tsar-Far-Away-From-Us" spells. On the other hand, if anyone in the ultra-paranoid USSR did figure out what was going on in Tunguska, it would be classified "Drop-Dead-Before-Reading" Top Secret (the last thing the Soviets would want is to give the rest of the world an excuse to invade! Nor would it want "special talents" that didn't fit in with their ideology!)

Another possibility: The high-mana zone around the Hellstorm could be Agartha. Taken over soon after it's creation by powerful psychics and/or spiritual entites, the mystics of Tibet could be fighting a covert war to keep them from taking over. Or both sides could be squabbling over how to divide up the world.

Just a notion ... one I intend to exploit. :)
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