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

Dire Bare

Legend
If WotC is worried about the problematic aspects of Dark Sun, there's zero chance they will release a new version of a setting that is explicitly a zoo for people of color throughout world history. The Hollow World really doesn't hold up today and the Savage Coast has a ton of problematic issues as well. The amount of surgery that would have to be done on either setting would likely eliminate whatever lingering bump they could get by releasing a theoretically classic setting.

If they ever return to Mystara, it'll likely be extremely targeted on a single region and even then, most of them will need at least some updates to today's standards.
Heh, yeah . . . I didn't say I expect WotC to ever revisit the setting, Known World, Hollow World, or Savage Coast.

If they did, or if some fan did a stellar product on the DM's Guild, you're right, it would take a LOT of work to remove the problematic aspects. But there were also a lot of neat ideas, and I'm one of those fans who has a great deal of nostalgia for the setting, warts and all.
 

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Zaukrie

New Publisher
On topic.....I think it is hard to build an audience for a new setting, and Heard failing at it just shows how hard.
I think not sticking to 5e rules was not a great idea. I'm also not sure he concentrated on the things that players and dms find useful in game enough. There were details here that didn't need to be here, well before we got more overview and stuff you'd find in a KP product, for example.

There is a ton of good stuff here, it is just kind of hidden in the other stuff that likely didn't matter to most people.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
On topic.....I think it is hard to build an audience for a new setting, and Heard failing at it just shows how hard.
I think not sticking to 5e rules was not a great idea. I'm also not sure he concentrated on the things that players and dms find useful in game enough. There were details here that didn't need to be here, well before we got more overview and stuff you'd find in a KP product, for example.

There is a ton of good stuff here, it is just kind of hidden in the other stuff that likely didn't matter to most people.
D&D world-building and game design has evolved quite a bit since the classic days of TSR. While I have a lot of love for those older products and Heard's work in particular . . . Calidar always struck me as stuck in the past of the early 90s.

That said, I've got most of the Calidar books and enjoyed them, but . . . never used them in my campaigns.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
On topic.....I think it is hard to build an audience for a new setting, and Heard failing at it just shows how hard.
I think not sticking to 5e rules was not a great idea. I'm also not sure he concentrated on the things that players and dms find useful in game enough. There were details here that didn't need to be here, well before we got more overview and stuff you'd find in a KP product, for example.

There is a ton of good stuff here, it is just kind of hidden in the other stuff that likely didn't matter to most people.
I think if he had come out with Calidar today as an OSE-compatible book, complete with logo, it could have done a lot better. This may well have been an example of the right product at the wrong time.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
If they did, or if some fan did a stellar product on the DM's Guild, you're right, it would take a LOT of work to remove the problematic aspects. But there were also a lot of neat ideas, and I'm one of those fans who has a great deal of nostalgia for the setting, warts and all.
I would love to see an updated Glantri City book, myself. But it might be easier for WotC to just make up a new magocratic canal city from scratch.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I would love to see an updated Glantri City book, myself. But it might be easier for WotC to just make up a new magocratic canal city from scratch.
It's funny, I have part of a fantasy novel drafted that takes place in such a city, and I thought I was stealing from Lies of Locke Lamora, but nope. Clearly Glantri.....also, that world has three moons (which I wrote that part before Calidar came out), which, odd.
 

Voadam

Legend
On topic.....I think it is hard to build an audience for a new setting, and Heard failing at it just shows how hard.
I think not sticking to 5e rules was not a great idea. I'm also not sure he concentrated on the things that players and dms find useful in game enough. There were details here that didn't need to be here, well before we got more overview and stuff you'd find in a KP product, for example.

There is a ton of good stuff here, it is just kind of hidden in the other stuff that likely didn't matter to most people.
Calidar came out in 2014, and it was a little while after 5e came out that WotC decided that the OGL was something they were doing with 5e. So it was not that surprising that it was not 5e.

I was fine with the decision to go statless with Calidar and having some Pathfinder 1e stats, but the no system stats they eventually went with were kind of weird and not helpful.

In reading Calidar I did keep getting kind of lost with the big picture overviews and the huge diverse geographies and odd details covered versus not.

I found the fiction story interesting but then had a bit of a disconnect in going to the actual setting information.

I bought the divine sourcebook on a sale but I have not read it yet.
 

Voadam

Legend
From the way WotC has done setting revivals I don't think Mystara would be that big a deal.

A bit of a big picture gazetteer and a focused adventure, possibly a classic B or X series adventure as the base. Perhaps even something with Aleena and Bargle out of Karameikos. Or something tying into XL1 Quest for the Heartstone so that you could have Warduke.

They would just not focus in on problematic stuff like the prior treatment of Orcs of Thar but go with a big multicultural presentation of a number of the themed Mystara mini settings (fantasy Vikings, Arabs, Mongols, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Magocracy, magical merchant prince land, etc.) They could even do stuff like a few paragraphs on things like the Orcs of Thar while skipping the prior problematic stuff. There is a lot in Mystara and it is possible to focus in on stuff that is good and soft focus the parts you do not wish to revisit.
 

BovineofWar

Explorer
Great write up! I've never know where to start with Mystara, but this is enough to convince me to grab a copy of Calidar Series 1 and maybe that boxset about the Voyage of the Princess Ark.
 

The Glen

Legend
If WotC is worried about the problematic aspects of Dark Sun, there's zero chance they will release a new version of a setting that is explicitly a zoo for people of color throughout world history. The Hollow World really doesn't hold up today and the Savage Coast has a ton of problematic issues as well. The amount of surgery that would have to be done on either setting would likely eliminate whatever lingering bump they could get by releasing a theoretically classic setting.

If they ever return to Mystara, it'll likely be extremely targeted on a single region and even then, most of them will need at least some updates to today's standards.
Except that's not what the Hollow World represents at all. It's a sanctuary for civilizations that were dying out, almost all from the Bronze Age. It has just as many European based cultures as not. It's got Greeks, Belgians, Swiss, Vikings, Slavs, Scythians and some elves that could be construed as Finnish depending on who's writing them. There's also Incan, Aztec, Central African, Polynesian and Ancient Egyptian for non European as well as a host of cultures with no equivalents like the cyber-elves, neanderthals and a collection of pirates from every culture and time period. The Immortal in charge makes it a point to save cultures about to die out due to conquest, disaster or just cultural change. None of them are portrayed as bad guys, except for the corruption-worshiping elves that go up like candles in direct light.
 

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