So, the other day I was talking to Fred and he asked if I had plans for the campaign if the final battle with Nakmander had gone differently, I said yes, because I did, and he said he'd be interested to hear about those some day. Later that day, Jeremy said he'd be interested to hear about them as well, and that I should do so right now. He said that since it is in the past, it wouldn't really spoil anything, which is true. So I decided to write a blog post about it. The final battle is kind of modular and most outcomes are based on a certain aspect of the battle and how it turns out, so some can end up combined to vastly alter the nature of The Known World. Here goes.
The Ritual Succeeds Perfectly
The guys altered the ritual, at the eleventh hour, almost too late. Derf took command of the ritual and shifted the focus from the city of itself to the northwest of the city and the Abraxen reforestation sites/lumber camps. If they had not done so, Kusseth would have been devastated and the nations surrounding it (The Fell Peaks, Meroteth, Vyanthnem, and Whurent) would expand their borders. Nakmander would have not gone south, as he currently is, in search of a new land and new resources for Meroteth because he could just loot Kusseth.
If Gonigi And His Wardens Died
If Derf had actually killed Gonigi instead of messing him up and keeping him from aiding the guys against Nakmander, the guys would have been hunted by Brasscoats and Wardens Errant till the day they die, instead of merely being sought in relation to Smiling Jack and the Beltan prison break, although by now that case is considered a "cold" case. They would have very likely become some of Kusseth's most wanted individuals.
If The Ritual Had Been Stopped Completely
If the guys had immediately dispelled the ritual, or the shield protecting the sorcerers and killed them immediately and directed the ritual away from Kusseth before the last second, and left Kusseth unharmed, Kusseth wins. Literally. Kusseth would have come at Meroteth so hard and so fast and so relentlessly that not even the sorcery of the entire city could hold them off. Meroteth would have been levelled and Nakmander's organization would have fallen into ruin and he would have lost all of his support and become a very desperate and fanatical individual indeed.
If Gonigi Hadn't Been Preoccupied Fighting Derf
Nakmander had some potent ass magical protections in place, including Stoneskin and Contingency: Greater Teleport, keyed to teleport him back to Meroteth if his hit points dropped to a certain point. Because of all his protections, it would have been extremely difficult for the guys to kill Nakmander unless everyone in the group focused completely on him, including Kethranmeer and Xein with their special weapons with black stone bits. In my world, psionics and sorcery are completely separate, and all of Nakmander's spell resistance and anti-magic stuff would have been useless against Gonigi's psionics. If Gonigi had been able to help them kill Nakmander, Nakmander would have truly died, no do over with a streak of white hair and a scar, in those wolf-iron tunnels and this campaign would be vastly different in nature.
If Kethranmeer Had Lived
If my beloved NPC had lived, he would have taken his proper place as king of the Rankethlek and master of Steeltown. He would have stepped away from the group to rule his city and aid in its construction, unless the situation truly warranted the king himself stepping into battle, like if they stormed the Necropolis to drag The Bleak Tyrant from his throne, which would have been his main goal. If the guys wished to, they could have aided Steeltown and taken one of the first five of the Rankethlek as a party member to act as my NPC and there would be lots of quest opportunities for the guys to fight Fallen and The Fallen Empire of Man. A'lst never would have disappeared in his airship and instead would live and work in Steeltown with his son and his son's sons. The Rankethlek would also be less loyal to the ideals of Kethranmeer and his goal for his people, because they wouldn't have a martyr in their derstroyed father. Obviously, they would also have a safe and unassailable haven against their foes in this campaign if Steeltown was ruled by D'alton's best friend.
If Gonigi Had Lived, But The Guys Hadn't Clearly Opposed Nakmander
At the resolution of the battle, Gonigi was aware that the players did not fight against Nakmander out of altruism, they only did so because they had family or friends living in Kusseth. However, they did save Kusseth some destruction, so he let them be. If they had waited to see how things had turned out and not struck against one side or the other immediately, or Derf had not redirected the meteors, he would have hunted them to the ends of the earth and made penal warriors of them and would have used them to hunt Nakmander.
If The Ritual Had Misfired
Every spell has a misfire chance, the more powerful the spell, the greater the misfire. Even my NPCs roll for misfire chances when they are working behind the scenes. Nakmander is an extremely powerful sorcerer and with the help of his sorcereres, he reduced the misfire chance of the ritual by a great deal. However, if the ritual had misfired, about a dozen shadow monsters would have very quickly descended upon the ritual site and a very different battle would have taken place.
If D'alton Braun Had Died And Kethranmeer Lived
If D'alton had died defending Kethranmeer and fighting against Nakmander, all the might of the Rankethlek would have been directed at waging war on Meroteth and Nakmander. Steeltown basically defends itself. The Fallen have been unable to level it with sorcery, and the Fremwightan and Rankethlek have fortified it too well for it too be weak to physical assault. Kethranmeer would have left the first five in command of his city and his people and he would have sworn vengeance for the death of his friend. He would have dragged his allies Volung and his Children, along with his Fremwightan allies, into battle against Meroteth and done everything he could to reduce that city to rubble, one blow from his hammer at a time.
If The Players Had All Died In The Final Battle
This campaign would still be happening. Whoa! (Would it!?)
So there are eight (nine!?) aspects of The Known World that could have been changed by the results of the final battle with Nakmander. A lot of this current campaign and what happened in the last ten years depends heavily on Nakmander, so his death or the death of Meroteth, could have created major differences in the events of this campaign and what happened across The Known World in the past ten years.