Mystara or The Know World

Mystara or The Know World

Mystara is one of the oldest locations in Dungeons & Dragons but in recent years it has not been used much by the authors of Wizards of The Coast. Like other settings, such as Greyhawk, designed by Gary Gygax and Blackmoor designed by Dave Arneson, Mystara was born from a group of Dungeons & Dragons players who needed a world to set their adventures. As happened for the F orgotten Realms, the setting was then purchased by TSR to make it a commercial product.

Who invented Mystara?

The question that arises is therefore: who invented Mystara? These are Tom Moldway and Lawrence Shick who developed the setting at the time of college, "when they had a lot of free time", in the mid-1970s. Their idea was to create a single large continent in which to insert different civilizations of the real world, in order to make them easily recognizable to the players.

They compiled a list of the civilizations they wanted to include in their setting:

Ancient Mediterranean Norse (Greece / Rome) Ottoman Empire Mongolian Tribes Mexico Aztec Han China Wales Celtic Egypt of the Pharaohs Hanseatic League France Ancient Carolingian Persia Dutch Republic Mughal Dynasty Obviously they also added typically fantasy elements and civilizations deriving from the readings of novels by their favorite authors, including: Howard, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Haggard, Harold Lamb, Dunsany, Hodgson, Zelazny, Vance, and Clark Anton Smith. Thus originated what was called the Known World, implying that there was still much more to discover! As was typical of the time, the Known World grew through shared game sessions with many other players and Masters who added and created according to their needs. In 1979 Lawrence Shick was hired by TSR and in 1980 convinced Tom Moldway to join him. At the time, one of their tasks was to work on a new version of the Dungeons & Dragons Core Set and at the same time develop the Set Expert, which would take the characters out of the dungeons to explore the world around them. We needed a World, a setting, to be proposed to the players but instead there was nothing ready.

The two then proposed to the managers of TSR to use their work, the Known World, and they had the green light. So they incorporated one of their first maps into the adventure that would be included in the Set Expert: The Isle of Terror, written by Tom Moldway himself together with David Zeb Cook.

The end of Mystara

The Known World will be used as a setting for several Dungeons & Dragons adventures, but without ever having a real dedicated volume that clearly defines its boundaries and structures. Among other things, both Moldway and Shick soon left TSR and their "legacy" was taken from what is considered the setting's putative father: Bruce Heard. Under his supervision, starting from 1987, the so-called Gazetteers will develop, the Atlases that better detail the various civilizations and territories of the Known World, thus giving the setting its definitive form.

The name Mystara arrives later in 1994, when TSR decides to convert the setting for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons by entrusting the work to Jeff Grubb. The authors chose a new name as it was thought that Known World would clash with the name of the then official setting for AD&D: Forgotten Realms. Note that the name of the city of Specularum was also changed to Mirrors as the original name was too assonant with speculum ... go and search on Google if you don't know what it is.

The transposition was not very successful anyway and the line was soon closed and, apart from a few articles in Dragon magazine, Mystara has been forgotten from the official canon. Despite this, the setting still enjoys a lot of popularity among old players who support it and continue to propose new revisions and detail unexplored areas of the continent, with new material and adventures. If you want to take a look, I recommend the Vaults of Pandius website.

Are you looking for new and collectible Dungeons & Dragons manuals or material dedicated to the world of role playing? At this link you can find from the latest news to the unobtainable goodies ready to be sent to your home!

Powered by Blogger.