Fans of the top quality D&D line from the 1980s and 1990s will recognize and Bruce Heard's style here. It is a great combination of narrative and world buillding with flying ships, magic and wonder. The artwork and illustrations are worth noting as are the excellent maps. A great gaming supplement!
Bruce Heard's first book about the World of Calidar fantasy setting is "system-neutral" meaning that you can easily adapt it to any RPG system you prefer. The writing is solid, the atmosphere thick with excitement and wonder and the scope of the project is awe-inspiring.
Starting with the planet Calidar and the realms of the Great Caldara, Bruce takes us to 7 other planets in the ephemeris - each home to unique cultures and races. The book also contains details on gods, geography and how to navigate ships flying through the air and even capable of inter-planar travel!
There is so much information and so many wonderful details in this book that it will be impossible to give a sense of all of them. I love fluff and Bruce's is certainly not stingy with the details that add colour and atmosphere.The book also contains a more detailed view of a single realm, the Kingdom of Meryath, and a section on its capital Glorathon, written by Ed Greenwood (the 'father' of Forgotten Realms).
It is a great introduction to Calidar and after you read it, you'll be wanting more
Calidar is a beautifully produced book from both a content and a presentation standpoint. It is truly a unique and original book, which is a rarity among so many products that are really just recycled material. It is well worth the price of admission.
All I can say (over and over again) is WOW! The story is phenomenal, the art is really cool, the concept appeals to an Aerospace Engineering desperately missing his Spelljammer, all make this a MUST BUY for anyone that has enjoyed the author's past exploration of flying ships. Anyone hesitating on buying should simply buy! You will NOT be disappointed.
I've partecipated in the Kickstarted and just read the first book and I think Calidar stands out as a very original setting among current rpgs. It's not only the skyships, which are a major and very interesting feature of the world, but several other points too: the Eternal Glory concept, which allows heroes to live longer and even become immortals; the World Souls concept, where each planet of the Solar system (the Soltan Ephemeris) has its own vitality and magic. The solar system itself, rich in different people and competing empires. It has, in my opinion, a bit of the best of several classic TSR worlds, and yet is as new and promising as you can get!
Bruce Heard's spiritual successor to the Mystara setting and associated line. Gives an overview of the setting which is a solar system of several (inhabited) planets, with increasing detail on the mainworld of the game and an area in particular known as the Great Caldera. Very much in the Mystaran tradition (the very late BECMI period in particular if that helps). Details the setting's gods, it's rather unique cosmology, ways to import characters from other settings, and a lot more. Very impressed with this - looking forward to the rest of the line.Note that this is not a stand alone product you will need an RPG set to use this. The further you get from the notions of campaign setting the size of a solar system with interplanetary airships int he Mystaran tradition the more work you'll have to do but should work like a dream with BECMI or another D&D variation (Dark Dungeons is what I'd use if I were to run this).
A setting with fresh tweaks and twists on a classic fantasy world feel. In addition to colorful maps available in the product and expansions online, there's a wealth of geographic, cultural, and historical material to pull your players (and their PCs) deeper into this exploration-friendly campaign setting.
I loved the TSR Mystara line headed by Bruce Heard and my favorite products were those written by him. I purchased the hardcover print on demand version at drivethrurpg.com. It is also available as a cheaper pdf. I found both versions to be excellent quality. The maps are gorgeous and the ships are wonderful vector graphics that look great in the pdf (better than print!). Just an outstanding product that is a joy to look at and read. My one minor wish is that future products have 5e compatible stats but that would have been impossible for this product given its production schedule. Greatly looking forward to further products in this line. Stop reading and go buy it now! EDIT: yay! 10th review gets it certified!
The setting/storyline material is really good, but as a game product a bit more actual rules content is needed. If the fiction is your thing, then this is competing with a world of novels. As a game book, it needs to compete with other game books. A great product, but it just needs more crunch!
Old D&D players (blue box) for sure remember near the end of the rulebook, the map (hexagonated) of the "Known World", with mysterious writings: "Granduchy of Karameikos, Empire of Thyatis, Republic of Darokin... plenty of people fantasized and had adventures all over that map.
Most early TSR adventures were set right on that lands, even if the descriptions of the regions around the action places
(dungeons, palaces, pyramids, savage island or castles...) usually were pretty limited.
Soon after we had the magnificent Mystara Gazetteers (so that was the neme of the world where we moved our first steps into adventure...). It was a great series of colourful publications, including detailed maps, that covered, one by one all the lands that were part of the "Known World". The Mystara Gazetteers are one of the all-time D&D most popular and loved publications and the chief editor (and also author of some Gazetteers, including the Principalities of Glantri and Orcs of Thar) was Bruce Heard.
It has to be clarified that the "Known World" (that is just a small part of Mystara) developed in an unplanned way when
the players were demanding more and more playing material. This way you can find desert lands (with inhabiltants similar to Arabs or Berbers) bordering with frozen lands (similar to Scandinavia and inhabited with the fantasy version of Vikings). Naiveties and inconsistancies were and still are plenty, but nevertheless the Mystara Gazetteers have a special place in history and in million of players' hearts.
After the Gazetteers, that explored only the "Known World", on the official magazine of the publisher (Dragon Magazine) appeared an extremely popular series of articles (still by Bruce Heard) where, "in installments", the colourful crew of a flying ship, the Princess Ark, explored "the rest" of Mystara (beyond the "Known World") and, through their adventures, introduced and flashed out a lot on unexplored lands where you could stage new adventures or build new empires.
After some time, even Dragon Magazine stopped its publications and the explorations of the Princess Ark followed the same fate. D&D publisher (including following and Advanced versions), for reasons that are difficult to understand, will be never interested on Mystara anymore. Gazetterrer and flying ships included.
With the advent of internet, after some years, D&D and Mystara fans could re-group and started producing new Mystara Gazetteers (amateur Gazetteers, of course), slowly covering more unexplored regions of Mystara http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=192
After many years dedicated to different occupations, Bruce Heard as well re-started writing (amateur) Mystara Gazetteers for his blog, in an informal and open way, as so many bloggers did and still do http://www.bruce-
Perhaps stunned by the overwhelming enthusiasm of players grown with his stories, after realizing that current D&D
publishers didn't change their minds about Mystara and strengthened by the "training" obtained by writing his amateur
Mystara Gazetteers, Bruce Heard decided after many years to come back as a RPG author, launching the project of the World of Calidar, that was self-published after a Kickstarter funding campaign https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ambreville/world-of-calidar?ref=card dopo averlo proposto e sostenuto sul suo blog http://www.bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/
The first product dedicated to the World of Calidar, visually wonderful, is therefore "In stranger skies". The first fifty
pages or so are dedicated to the story of a flying ship and its colourful crew, suffering a selective amnesia that doesn't
let them remember their past. They will survive terrible storms, outwit mysterious assailants, contact the inhabitants of
the unknown world that unfolds below them and finally they wil, start exploring Calidar, trying to understand why they are there and, above all, how they can go "back".
It is an adventurous story, full of action, mysteries and episodes a first sight impossible to explain. It is impossible
not noticing some simililarities with the Princess Ark stories.
The second part of the book (they are about 140 pages in all) is dedicated to describing Calidar solar system: its
planets, the moons, the asteroid belt and, above all, the powers that created this world, the origin of magic, the source
of mystic energy that is the raw matter that forms the souls of the living, the dead and even the gods, the nature of the powers that allow ships to fly (in the atmosphere and also in space) and the path that allows creature of other worlds to reach Calidar.
This part of the book, that is obviously more similar to the mythical Gazetteers, is the real step forward dictated by the
great experience of the author: still with its magic, bizarre and surprising aspects, the worlds presented are born in a
consistent way, with realistic climatic maps, geography (the maps are wonderful!), the story of the world is well thought through, its features and customs have agreeable reasons to exist, even if there are some unavoidable references to well known human and fantasy cultures (Hellenistic Greece, Vikings, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons etc.) and to various divine pantheons.
The result is a solar system (star, planets, moons, asteroids, space oddities...) consistent and of great beauty, where
you can still introduce easily cultures, episodes, characters (and adventures!) from other settings (for example having a
de-tour on Calidar for the characters of your ongoing campaign wouldn't be difficult at all, still maintaining coherence
with the setting).
It is also very interesting the mechanic that allows Heroes to become Demi-gods and, finally, Gods of the kind of the
classical Roman-Greek gods: truly powerful, but not almighty, and with behaviours still similar to the humans.
Then there is a description of the Kingdom of Meryath, one of the states of Calidar (the first visited by the Star
Phoenix, the flying ship heir of the Princess Ark). It is a kingdom where heroes are kept in the highest esteem and it is
therefore teh adventurers' paradise. Of course the Star Phoenix crew is full of prominent adventurers, well described with plenty of interesting details, and they are followed by all other main heroes and villains introduced in the first part of the book. They are followed by a number of descriptions of Calidar organizations (guilds, orders, brotherhoods...) and of the city of Glorathon, capital of Meryath (by Ed Greenwood, Bruce Heard's old friend). It couldn't miss a bestiary with some of the most peculiar creatures of Calidar.
It is difficult to avoid adding spoliers of the one thousand and one gems and neat details hidden a bit everywhere (and
with method, not random!), so I cut short most descriptions to avoid spoling the fun.
One great feature of this setting is that it is presented without a reference ruleset: it is "simply" a well detailed
description of a wonderful fentasy setting with more than a few steampunk references.
Only near the end of the book there are some guidelines for a Pathfinder conversion, introduced as only one of the
countless possibilities: every Master will be able to adapt Calidar adventures to his/her favourite ruleset.
The last pearl of the book is navigation manual for flying ships, complete with detailed descriptions of six flying ships
built according to the prevailing styles of different states and cultures, so that, for example, the Elvish flying ship is
a wonder of living wood with flowers and blossoms, while the Dwarver ride metallic monsters spitting a very steampunky black smoke.
In conclusion, beyond the sense of wonder for the excellent publication and artwork, it was a real pleasure being
introduced in a fantasy world wull of interesting and surprising features, all well thought through in a consistent way,
so that each of them is a piece of a mosaic masterly designed.
The readers and players that came to know Bruce Heard's stories tens of years ago will be enthused by this, but also will be the readers and players that never read his work before. The gaming possibilities are absolutely huge and adaptable to all preferences.
Enjoy your games!!!
Quanti di voi hanno giocato con D&D (prima edizione) ricorderanno sicuramente ad un certo punto del regolamento la mappa (esagonata) del "Mondo Conosciuto", con misteriose scritte: Granducato di Karamekios, Impero di Thyatis, Repubblica di Darokin... su quella carta geografica teatro di tante avventure hanno fantasticato in tanti.
Le prime avventure pubblicate dalla TSR erano ambientate proprio su quelle terre, anche se le descrizioni della zona circostante luogo dell'azione (dungeon, palazzo, piramide sepolta, isola selvaggia o castello che fosse) di solito erano molto limitate.
Poco piu' tardi sono arrivati gli Atlanti di Mystara (dunque era questo il nome del mondo sul quale avevamo mosso i primi passi nell'avventura...). Si trattava di una collana di splendide pubblicazioni a colori, con tanto di mappe, che coprivano, uno per uno, tutti i territori che facevano parte del "Mondo Conosciuto". Questa serie di pubblicazioni e' una delle serie piu' amate di tutti i tempi da parte dei giocatori di D&D e il suo direttore (nonche' autore di diversi atlanti, tra i quali quelli indimenticabili dei Principati di Glantri e degli Orchi di Thar) si chiamava Bruce Heard.
Bisogna dire che il "Mondo Conosciuto" (che sarebbe poi solo una piccola parte del pianeta di Mystara) era nato in modo episodico, man mano che i giocatori chiedevano sempre piu' materiale e non era stato ben pianificato fin dall'inizio. In questo modo si trovavano territori completamente desertici (con popolazioni nomadi simili a quelle arabe o berbere) contigui a territori gelidi (del tipo scandinavo, tanto che erano popolate dalla versione fantasy dei Vichingi). Le ingenuita' e le incongruenze erano e restano molte, ma comunque gli Atlanti di Mystara sono rimasti nella storia e nel cuore di milioni di giocatori.
Oltre alla serie degli Atlanti, che esplorava solo il "Mondo Conosciuto", sul magazine ufficiale dell'editore (Dragon Magazine), comparve una fortunatissima serie di articoli (sempre firmati da Bruce Heard) nei quali, "a puntate", la variopinta ciurma di una nave volante, la Pricess Ark, esplorava il "resto" di Mystara (al di fuori del "Mondo Conosciuto") e, tramite le loro avventure, introduceva e dettagliava un sacco di territori inesplorati dove poter affrontare nuove avventure o costruire nuovi imperi.
Dopo qualche tempo, anche Dragon Magazine ammaino' la sua bandiera e, con esso, ebbero fine anche le esplorazioni della Princess Ark. L'editore di D&D (incluse versioni avanzate e successive), per motivi incomprensibili, non sara' mai piu' interessato a Mystara. Atlanti e navi volanti inclusi.
Con l'avvento di internet, dopo qualche tempo, gli appassionati di D&D e di Mystara si riorganizzarono e cominciarono a produrre nuovi Atlanti di Mystara amatoriali per coprire pian piano zone di Mystara finora inesplorate http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=192
Dopo molti anni dedicati ad altre occupazioni, anche Bruce Heard comincio' a dedicarsi di nuovo agli Atlanti di Mystara (amatoriali) nel suo blog, in modo informale e aperto a tutti, come hanno fatto e fanno tanti blogger http://www.bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/Ar01.htmlhttp://www.bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/Fris01.htmlhttp://www.bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/Climate.html
Forse colpito dall'enorme e inaspettato affetto degli internauti cresciuti con le sue storie e dopo aver constatato che l'attuale editore di D&D non aveva cambiato idea per quanto riguarda Mystara e forte dell'"allenamento" fatto con gli Atlanti di Mystara amatoriali, Bruce Heard decise dopo molti anni di rimettersi in gioco come autore, lanciando il progetto di Calidar, che verra' condotto in proprio e finanziato tramite Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ambreville/world-of-calidar?ref=card dopo averlo proposto e sostenuto sul suo blog http://www.bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/
Il primo prodotto dedicato al mondo di Calidar, graficamente splendido, e' dunque "In stranger skies" e troverete in prima pagina, nell'Honor Roll (ovvero nella lista dei principali sostenitori) molti nomi Italiani.
La prima cinquantina di pagine e' dedicata alla storia di una nave volante e della sua variopinta ciurma in preda ad un'amnesia selettiva che non permette loro di ricordare il passato. I protagonisti riusciranno a scampare a terribili tempeste, sopravvivere a misteriori assalitori, contattare gli abitanti del mondo sconosciuto che si estende sotto di loro e finalmente si dedicheranno alla esplorazione di Calidar e alla ricerca del motivo per il quale si trovano li' e, soprattutto, di un modo per tornare "indietro".
La storia e' avventurosa e corale, piena di azione, misteri e fenomeni a prima vista incomprensibili. Non si puo' non notare una certa somiglianza con le mitiche storie della Princess Ark.
La seconda parte del libro (in tutto sono 140 pagine) e' dedicata invece alla descrizione del sistema solare di Calidar: i suoi pianeti, le lune, la fascia di asteroidi e, soprattutto, le forze che hanno creato questo mondo, le origini della magia, la fonte di energia mistica che e' la materia prima delle anime degli esseri viventi e degli dei, la natura delle forze che permettono alle navi volanti, per l'appunto, di volare (sia nell'atmosfera che nello spazio) e il percorso che permette a creature di altri mondi di arrivare a Calidar.
Questa parte del libro, che e' ovviamente piu' simile ai mitici Atlanti, e' il vero passo avanti dettato dalla grande esperienza dell'autore: pur con i suoi aspetti magici, bizzarri e sorprendenti, il mondo presentato nasce in modo coerente, con mappe climatiche verosimili, la sua geografia coerente (le mappe sono stupende!), la sua storia pensata unitariamente, is suoi usi e costumi che hanno un loro motivo comprensibile, per quanto siano inevitabili riferimenti a culture umane o fantasy (Grecia Ellenistica, Vichinghi, Elfi, Nani, Draghi, eccetera) e a vari pantheon divini.
Il risulatato e' un sistema solare (stella, pianeti, lune, asteroidi, anomalie cosmiche...) coerente e di grande bellezza, nel quale e' al contempo possibile introdurre facilmente culture, episodi, personaggi (e avventure!) provenienti da altre ambientazioni (per esempio far fare un giretto su Calidar ai personaggi della vostra campagna corrente non e' affatto complicato, pur rimanendo nell'ambito dell'ambientazione).
E' anche particolarmente interessante il meccanismo per il quale gli Eroi possono aspirare a diventare Semidei e, finalmente, Dei del tipo degli dei dell'antichita' classica: potenti si, ma non onnipotenti, e con caratteri e comportamenti simili a quelli umani.
Si passa poi a descrivere il Regno di Meryath, uno degli stati di Calidar (il primo visitato dalla Star Phoenix, la nave volante erede della Princess Ark). E' un regno dove gli eroi sono tenuti in altissima stima e quindi e' il paradiso degli avventurieri. In prima fila tra questi ci sono i navigatoridella Star Phoenix, che sono dunque descritti con dovizia di particolari interessanti e sono seguiti dagli altri eroi e antieroi principali descritti nella prima parte del libro.
Segue quindi una serie di descrizioni di organizzazioni (gilde, ordini, confraternite...) di Calidar e una descrizione della citta' di Glorathon, capitale di Meryath (a cura di Ed Greenwood, amico di vecchia data di Bruce Heard). Non poteva mancare un bestiario con una rassegna di alcune delle creature peculiari di Calidar.
E' difficile evitare di dare anticipazioni delle mille e una gemme e sottigliezze infilate un po' dovunque (e con metodo: non a casaccio!), ma rischierei di rovinare il divertimento.
Il bello di tutta questa ambientazione e' che e' presentata senza un sistema di regole di riferimento: e' semplicemente una descrizione ben dettagliata di una splendida ambientazione fantasy con piu' di qualche riferimento steampunk.
Solo verso la fine del libro vengono fornite delle coordinate per la conversione a Pathfinder, prensentata solo come una delle infinite possibili: qualunque Master o Narratore potra' adattare le avventure su Calidar al regolamento che preferisce.
L'ultima perla del libro e' un manuale di navigazione per navi volanti, completato dalle descrizioni dettagliate di ben sei navi volanti, costruite secondo diversi criteri prevalenti in diversi stati e culture, per cui, per esempio, la nave volante degli Elfi e' una meraviglia di legno vivente con tanto di fiori e germogli, mentre quella dei nani e' un mostro di metallo che sputa un denso fumo nero che fa molto steampunk.
In conclusione, oltre allo stupore per l'eccellente veste editoriale e le splendide immagini, rimane il piacere di aver fatto conoscenza con un mondo fantastico pieno di aspetti interessanti e sorprendenti, che sono stati tutti pensati e costruiti per bene in modo coerente, in modo da essere ognuno una tessera di un mosaico magistralmente disegnato e architettato. Ne saranno entusiasti gli affezionati lettori che hanno conosciuto le storie di Bruce Heard decenni fa e anche chi non l'ha mai conosciuto prima. Le possibilita' di gioco sono assolutamente enormi e adattabili a tutti i gusti.
Buona lettura e buon divertimento!!!
This is a great product both in form and content, the first publication for an RPG setting that promises to at least be the best since the Pathfinder setting, possibly since the glory days of Mystara, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance and the like. Indenpendently published, but rivals or surpasses the products of Wizards and the other big publishers in every way.
Bruce Heard, one of the minds behind the original D&D world of Mystara is brings us back to the good old days with his brand new fantasy world Calidar. In Dragon Magazine, and a later boxed set for D&D, Bruce wrote about the adventures of the wondrous skyship Princess Ark, and used it to describe new lands rich for adventure. In "In Stranger Skies", the skyship The Star Phoenix picks up the torch, being sucked into Calidar's universe to explore the adventures of this curious world, its inhabited moons and sister planets.
The first part of the book is a work of fiction, describing the first part of the journey of The Star Phoenix and its crew. It is a very compelling introduction to the setting, reading as the first few chapters of a novel I'm aching for the rest of.
The second part of the book is an outline of the Calidar setting, zooming in from an overview of the Solar system called the Soltan Ephemeris, to a closer look at the World of Calidar, an even closer look at the area called The Great Caldera, then to a description of the nation of Meryath in the style of the Gazetteers we know and love from Mystara and going into even more detail on its capital city of Glorathon. Also included are descriptions of gods, people and monsters in the universe as well as descriptions with deck plans of different types of skyships present in the setting.
The RPG setting part of the book is written without referring to a specific game system, although the setting, characters and style are clearly influenced by the D&D family of systems. It would work rather well with any edition of that game line, and should easily be adapted to other generic fantasy systems. Included in the book is an appendix with suggested stats for characters and monsters for Paizo's Pathfinder RPG.
The book is very well written, looks great and gives a very interesting first look into this wondrous new world. I would recommend any fan of the good old days of D&D to rediscover the feeling of exploring a new RPG world for the first time the way this book lets you do it. The layout and artwork, including the beautiful map work of Thorfinn Tait makes shelling out for the premium hard cover version well worth the money.
Got a comprehensive review published on my blog (find the little green arrow above the social media links higher up on the page).
Calidar, In Stranger Skies is an awesome product. It grabs you and makes you want to play in this world. I am not sure what the plans are, but certainly I can see an OSR version getting produced or even a D&D 5. But if not you could do it on your own with just a little effort (less if you know Pathfinder really well).
If you liked Spelljammer, the Known Earth Gazetteer series or the Voyages of the Princes Ark, then this is a must have. Really.
Personally I can't think of a single reason NOT to buy this.
Calidar: In Stranger Skies is a really fascinating and unique world setting offered to the gaming community by a veteran RPG designer. The details about the Soltan Ephemeris and its planets and moons really transports the heroes to a wondrous new world where the sky is no longer the limit, and multiple worlds offer potentially unlimited exploration and questing opportunities. The writing is great, the maps are fantastic, and the science-fiction/heroic fantasy mash-up will doubtless be appealing to many gamers. The fact that the setting was designed as system neutral for most of the content makes this book useful to a wide range of RPGs beyond just PFRPG.
Mystara has long lived in my imagination but had started to become one of those dusty places that you visit, too much like a bauble, a pretty thing to be remembered, or stoke a memory but not of much use anymore, as the content had started to fall out of fancy. Even frequent trips back to Dragon magazine to re-read the Voyage of the Princess Ark didn't quite to seem to have the shine they once did after the 15th and 16th readings. And then, like that, everything and all of it is new again.
In Stranger Skies is familiar enough, like an old friend you haven't seen in a long time. You know there have been changes, but you still feel comfortable. Ole Babblejack fits right in as his old aged self, right along with the first mate Enna and the Captain Isledemer. All new names, all familiar places on a new, but familiar vessel. The Sky ships of Calidar are here! (or merely re-discovered) with complete deck plans and a myriad of deck hands and characters to round out the perfect beginning for any DM to launch a world here. The foundation on which to build your world of flying ships, betrayal, battle and hi-jinx stands between the pages of this re-imagining of our long lost friends in Mystara.
At 140 pages, there is no shortage of material. The first fifty pages is comprised of the fiction portion, the story, the one that harkens back to the Voyage of the Princess Ark. It does just the right mood setting to get your blood flowing to take you into the expansive universe that you can build upon. This is the creative. The raw clay from which you can form your people, your world, and many new adventures. Some stat blocks are provided for ease of use in PathFinder, but they are a "gimmie" that is does not replace the story in any way. The DM still has his or her options to build the rest without being spoon-fed in absolutes.<br><br> As we as players begin to gravitate toward a more open environment which will allow us to roleplay as we did in the older days, but allow us to math grind when it makes sense, the melding of two, per the DMs recipe is what the players have to look forward to. I avoid 5 star and 1 star ratings normally because it is hard to be perfect, and hard to have absolutely no redeeming quality. Perspective is what I am trying to bring into this review. A perspective that says: With a little work on the DMs part, the creative is so deep and "chewy" (not crunchy!) that this could be the beginning of a very fun world for your players to play in. For players I recommend reading the fiction because it will leave you like it did me, wanting to be a part and party to the Calidar world.
An epic 5 star rating from me, as I think this is what these games are designed to do, bring out imagination and give us a sandbox to play our adventures in.
This is exactly the kind of book they won't make anymore. And the kind of book I was hoping for.Calidar is a setting only (system free) emulation/reimagining of BECMI's Known world/Mystara, and for those that know what I'm talking about this would be enough information to warrant a purchase. In line with the philosophy of OSR, Bruce Heard decided Mystara could use a modern resurrection and here is where the vision comes to life. Reimagining and carefully putting together the best bits of Princess ark, the Gazetter line, Spelljammer and Planescape we get the first book in a possible series. A good portion of the book is an interesting novella chronicling the voyage of a new crew in a new world and it's pretty much the princess ark reimagined. then the setting as such commences. Everything is detailed, timelines, planets, races, lands, sky/spaceships.The cartography is very well done and the landmass for this first planet is massive and interestingly laid out, i think the potential for expansion may be even bigger than mystara itself. This is a sandbox setting in which everything you would want to run might work. A travelogue campaign, a spacefaring adventure, political intrigue, dimensional hopping, planescaping and of course why not, good old fashioned dungeon crawling. The only negative aspect I can think of is that the comparison to mystara is inevitable; both in conceptualization and structure, but mystara was maximized over the years and we have a comprehensive body of work available. In Calidar you see this enormous potential, and it be a shame to see it cut short.So this is a dream product for those who are into role playing that adapts to pretty much any system of choice.