D&D General Bruce Heard wraps up the World of Calidar

The voyage of the Star Phoenix comes to an end as TSR alum calls it a day.

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After ten years of work, famed TSR alumni Bruce Heard has announced there will be no future releases for his World of Calidar D&D-compatible setting.

The World of Calidar was inspired by Heard's series of articles in Dragon Magazine, Voyage of the Princess Ark in the 1990s, which also expanded on the world of Mystara. Under his label Calidar Pubishing, over two dozen titles were released between 2017 and 2023. The setting tells the story of the skyship Star Phoenix and describes the world itself.

Given the limited sales of the last series, I can't find the energy to launch another. These books represent a major amount of work, and I'm not getting any younger. It's a heartbreaking decision, but in the face of the apparent lack of activity after the latest Kickstarter and little or no ensuing feedback, I'm not comfortable pursuing the Calidar project.

Calidar's latest Kickstarter was in 2021 and raised $22,000.

It's a great shame, but it appears he was unable to build a reasonable audience for the setting. Bruce's heart has always been with Mystara, so I'm now hoping WOTC will open up the DMs Guild to Mystara content at some point.
 

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M.T. Black

M.T. Black

Zardnaar

Legend
Holmgard Press has been releasing the Lone Wolf reprints at a fair pace (2 books every few months). They're nice books. There's also a new project on Kickstarter, Fortress of Death, which is an interactive audio book, set in Kazan-Oud. It seems to be doing reasonably well (25k at the moment).

I've seen them but fiendishly expensive to get to NZ.

And I kept my originals.
 

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Fanaelialae

Legend
That's seems like a rather Rube Goldbergian approach to that problem!
As a software engineer, I can attest that pretty much all of the major anti-virus offerings behave this way. We periodically see problems with various anti-virus acting against our own software (which is an ERP system) on some customer systems. As someone else said earlier, the attitude seems to be, better too aggressive than not enough. As crazy as it sounds, that was likely the best solution to the problem. They might need to call in the engineers again if something changes, but it's better than dropping a ton of money on new anti-virus, and then having the same or new issues. And in this age of ransomware, it would be nuts to run a business without anti-virus.
 

I can't say that I'm surprised. The pitch was always, I'm just redoing the Voyage of the Princess Ark. But people already had Mystara, they liked Mystara. I don't think people were interested in a spiritual sequel to Mysara done by one of the Mystara guys. Like, they already had the setting that they loved.
This and the fans at Pandius and The Piazza have been keeping the Mystaran flames stoked with new material.
 

The Glen

Legend
"Less than diplomatic"?? Or, did they just say, "No".

I do think WotC should just open Mystara on the Guild, as they are very unlikely to ever release a product for it themselves first. Although, an official 5E Hollow World or Savage Coast would be pretty neat, potentially.
According to Bruce's blog they were outright insulting. Enough to make him swear off working with WOTC.
 

The Glen

Legend
That's the problem Mystara essentially died before the WotC buyout circa 1994.

And people who get gooey about B/X generally don't care about the Mystara parts that are easily ported elsewhere eg Isle of Dread on Greyhawk in 3E or 5E version.

I woukd also play Mystara but it's hard enough finding OSR players let alone Mystara or Greyhawk.
It was largely sabotaged, management at TSR wanted to do away with Greyhawk and Mystara, despite them being some of the few settings that sold at the time. Mystara was the best seller outside the US because it was the setting they decided to get translated. But those settings were tied to Gary or his friends and the decision was made to get rid of them. The settings, Gary and his friends were already gone.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
It was largely sabotaged, management at TSR wanted to do away with Greyhawk and Mystara, despite them being some of the few settings that sold at the time. Mystara was the best seller outside the US because it was the setting they decided to get translated. But those settings were tied to Gary or his friends and the decision was made to get rid of them. The settings, Gary and his friends were already gone.
While Bruce is a stand up dude and designer, I have a hard time believing that the WotC folks were insulting to him. Depends on who specifically he talked to, I guess. Lawyer vs designer, perhaps?

Mystara continued as a D&D setting long after Gary was ousted from TSR, although it was of course eventually canceled. I also have a hard time believing Mystara got the axe due to any association with Gygax and his friends at TSR. We've had revivals of just about every setting over the years except for Mystara, including Greyhawk.

Personally, I grew up on Mystara and have a lot of love for it. But it's the least popular of the settings and has a lot of problematic aspects to it. It's hard to revive without significant reinvention. For those fans who continue to love the setting, hopefully WotC will just open it up on the DM's Guild sooner rather than later, although I won't hold my breath.
 


I for one, did the first 1-2 Kickstarters for Calidar and then did lose interest for the 'I already have Mystara' reasons mentioned above. That plus some individual decisions I didn't fancy, like ramping the faith-fuels-divinity/gods-need-worshippers dial up to 11, such that misconceptions the faithful have about their gods would eventually alter the god 'til it became true.

While Bruce is a stand up dude and designer, I have a hard time believing that the WotC folks were insulting to him. Depends on who specifically he talked to, I guess. Lawyer vs designer, perhaps?

Mystara continued as a D&D setting long after Gary was ousted from TSR, although it was of course eventually canceled. I also have a hard time believing Mystara got the axe due to any association with Gygax and his friends at TSR. We've had revivals of just about every setting over the years except for Mystara, including Greyhawk.

Personally, I grew up on Mystara and have a lot of love for it. But it's the least popular of the settings and has a lot of problematic aspects to it. It's hard to revive without significant reinvention. For those fans who continue to love the setting, hopefully WotC will just open it up on the DM's Guild sooner rather than later, although I won't hold my breath.
To the best of my knowledge, Mystara died because Mentzer/RC slowly stopped seeing support (yes, they did port it to 2e AD&D with Red Steel, but IMO it was too little too late to develop a following). That overall process undoubtedly included a bit of the people in Gary's corner (notably Mentzer) slowly disappearing. However, I've don't know of any active process that happened, so much as the people who might advocate for the basic-classic line being gone. Retroactive analysis has certainly shown that BECMI sold pretty well (at least in the 80s), but who knows if TSR realized that.
 



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