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5E Legacy and Magic Settings - hypothetical order and likelihood of publication

Mercurius

Legend
With WotC's relatively new focus on publishing settings, there's been tons of speculation on what we'll eventually see coming down the pike. Seeing as it is scattered through a bunch of different threads, I thought it would be worthwhile to start a "meta-thread" discussing the issue as a whole, particularly around speculation with regards to (hypothetical) order and likelihood of publication. I know less about the Magic settings, but will give it a shot based upon a cursory scan of the settings.

LEGACY SETTINGS
Definite: Forgotten Realms (via adventure paths).
It seems a foregone conclusion that we'll continue to see the Realms as the default setting. Presumably they'll eventually expand beyond the North, probably into the Dalelands/Cormyr/Moonsea region, possiblly Lantan, Thay, Anauroch, etc.

Likely/Sooner-than-later: Dark Sun, Planescape. These just seem to be the most likely to happen in the next few years, both because they offer something new to the 5E line that are intrinsic parts of the game (psionics, sword & sorcery, planes), and also because people are obviously clamoring for them--at least the vocal minority of quasi-grognards.

Maybe-to-probably/At some point: Forgotten Realms (campaign book), Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Al-Qadim. All for different reasons. FR may never get another big setting book, although is definite for further coverage in adventure books. Dragonlance and Greyhawk both seem quite possible, although it wouldn't surprise me at all if WotC leaves them untouched for a variety of reasons--but I would guess that we'll see something. Spelljammer is most likely to be given a spot in some kind of planar book, and less likely to receive its own treatment. Ravenloft will probably be revisited, but less likely as its own setting (my guess is that they'd rather do Innistrad and not both). Al-Qadim seems ripe for an update, but I could see it through an adventure book with a big setting section, but it might belong in the next category...

Unlikely/Probably never: Mystara, Birthright, Kara-Tur, Nentir Vale. I just see all of these in an unlikely category, but I could also see scenarios for each to surface in some form or fashion. For instance, you'd think WotC would eventually do some kind of Oriental/Asian Adventures book, but would they do Kara-Tur or something else? Birthright is ideal for kingdom-building, so would be an obvious choice if they expand in that direction, but probably not for years to come. I suppose I could see a "Return to Nentir Vale" product at some point, but wouldn't bet on it. Mystara is beloved by people who grew up on BECMI, but I think gets crowded out by other kitchen sink legacy settings. I could see it receiving a minor treatment in some kind of 50th anniversary product, but unlikely a full setting book.

In the Vault: Jakandor, Ghostwalk, Council of Wyrms, Blackmoor, Pelinore, Rokugan. I think these are all essentially dead settings and won't be revisited by WotC. I suppose I could see Blackmoor given minor treatment in a hypothetical 50th anniversary product, but not as a complete setting. For some reason Council of Wyrms gives me pause, though, as it would make a great adventure-setting box set. Hmm...

MAGIC SETTINGS
I really don't know, but from what I've gathered, Zendikar and Innistrad seem most likely, followed by a group that includes Dominaria, Kaladesh, Ixalan, and others. But I really have no clue as to what is most popular or recent or upcoming; Zendikar and Innistrad get mentioned a lot, and Dominaria is the classic, so seems probable at some point.

What do you think? Which settings do you think are likely, maybe, unlikely and in the vault?
 

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I don't know why folks are sitting on the Magic setting Tarkir. It's got two splinter timelines, novel factions styled on cultures that often don't get a ton of air time in western fantasy, and a bunch of frikkin' dragons.
 



Mercurius

Legend
I don't know why folks are sitting on the Magic setting Tarkir. It's got two splinter timelines, novel factions styled on cultures that often don't get a ton of air time in western fantasy, and a bunch of frikkin' dragons.
Don't know who you mean by "folks," but I don't know enough about Magic to be sitting on it. Sounds intriguing.

MAGIC:
Kamigawa
would be a logical base if they decide to do a Far-East style setting.
That makes sense as an alternate to Kara-Tur. It seems more likely that they'd do Kamigawa, a new setting to D&D, than resuscitate Kara-Tur, which would probably require a lot of re-working, and they might just prefer to leave it in the vault.

This would also extend to some of the Middle Eastern-and-desert themed Magic settings (Kaladesh, Amonkhet) vs. Al-Qadim, or Innistrad vs. Ravenloft, or Ixalan vs. Maztica.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
Another angle on this, and a sub-conscious guideline for my categorizations, is that I think the likelihood of publication is the result of a combination of factors:

  1. How beloved it is by the fan-base, as a classic to the D&D heritage.
  2. Whether it incorporates a major aspect of the D&D rules that hasn't yet been explicated.
  3. To what degree it fits the current ethos of D&D and/or could be translated to the current cultural-generational cohort of younger Millenials.
  4. Whether or not it has a serious advocate in the WotC D&D design team (that is, someone who loves the setting and wants to make it happen).

Dark Sun and Planescape seem to really fulfill the first three criteria (I have no idea about the fourth). GH and Dragonlance fit the 1st, less-so the 2nd and questionably the 3rd (although I think a well-done War of the Lance re-boot could be well-marketed, so DL gets a slight edge over GH, in my mind). Mystara also fits the third, but fares more poorly in the 2nd and 3rd. Etc.
 

Count_Zero

Adventurer
  1. How beloved it is by the fan-base, as a classic to the D&D heritage.
  2. Whether it incorporates a major aspect of the D&D rules that hasn't yet been explicated.
  3. To what degree it fits the current ethos of D&D and/or could be translated to the current cultural-generational cohort of younger Millenials.
  4. Whether or not it has a serious advocate in the WotC D&D design team (that is, someone who loves the setting and wants to make it happen).
Spelljammer fits the 2nd and 4th - not so sure about 1st and 3rd. They teased it in Dungeons of the Mage, so it might fit 3?
 

Parmandur

Legend
So, in regards to Magic Settings, I think they would only do a book if it coincides somewhat with the card game doing that Setting. Theros isn't exact, since the Theros card set dropped in March, and now the book isn't out until July, but close enough for some synergy. The current card set, Ikoria, is a new Setting, and I doubt that WotC will bring D&D there immediately. Later this year, there is a Zendikar card set, which is one of the most popular Magic Settings and very well suited to D&D Adventures, indeed, being the first Magic Setting to get official D&D support from WotC thanks to James Wyatt. I could see a Zendikar book coming out next year sometime, playing off of the metaplot situation after the events of the card set.

For Magic Settings in general, Mark Rosewater (the Big Kahunna of Magic R&D) has a scale he maintains for transparency with the fans, called the Rabiah Scale, that measures how likely the card game is to return to the Setting. The Setting of Rabiah is a 10, which means pretty much it will never ever happen, while Dominaria and Ravnica are 1, guaranteed to happen again multiple times. This seems to be a generally good indicator of how likely we are to see a D&D tie-in, being high on the Rabiah scale. Ravnica is a 1, and Theros is a 3. The other Settings with numbers above 4 are Dominaria, Zendikar, and Innistrad. Any Setting of 6 or above seems plausible for actually happening, and fitting for a D&D tie-in.

The narrative description of the numbers is as follows:

  • Level 1: Will definitely see again - Dominaria, Ravnica, and Innistrad
  • Level 2: Will definitely see again, but not necessarily right away - Zendikar
  • Level 3: Will most likely do again, probably many times - Theros
  • Level 4: Will most likely do again, but they have issues that make them less of a guarantee - Ikoria and Eldraine
  • Level 5: We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm optimistic - Alara, Amonkhet, Kaladesh, Lorwyn, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
  • Level 6: We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm a little less optimistic
  • Level 7: It's unlikely to return, but possible if the right environment comes along
  • Level 8: It's unlikely to return, but possible if the stars align
  • Level 9: I never say never, but this would require a minor miracle
    - Level 10: I never say never, but this would require a major miracle
 
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Mercurius

Legend
Spelljammer fits the 2nd and 4th - not so sure about 1st and 3rd. They teased it in Dungeons of the Mage, so it might fit 3?
Yeah, it is a bit of an outlier and hard to pin-point. It is beloved by a group of older fans, but probably a relatively small group--presumably smaller than, say, Dark Sun or Planescape.

It incorporates a different aspect of the rules, but not a "major" one like Dark Sun (psionics) or Planescape (the planes).

It may work for the current climate as a kind of retro-80s thing, but is a bit risky. The 80s-90s have lots of classic cultural tropes that are beloved by young people today, but there's also late 80s/early 90s fashion and Kenny Gee. Gross.

As for 4, it has to be justifiable with the first three.

So my sense is that we'll see Spelljammer in some form or fashion, but probably not as--or at least not at first--its own product. That is why I suggest it as an alternate approach to the planes, possibly as an appendix or chapter, or part of an "Alternate Cosmologies" section in a Manual of the Planes book.
 

Mercurius

Legend
So, in regards to Magic Settings, I think they would only do a book if it coincides somewhat with the card game doing that Setting. Theros isn't exact, since the Theros card set dropped in March, and now the book isn't out until July, but close enough for some synergy. The current card set, Ikoria, is a new Setting, and I doubt that WotC will bring D&D there immediately. Later this year, there is a Zendikar card set, which is one of the most popular Magic Settings and very well suited to D&D Adventures, indeed, being the first Magic Setting to get official D&D support from WotC thanks to James Wyatt. I could see a Zendikar boom coming out next year sometime, playing off of the metaplot situation after the events of the card set.

For Magic Settings in general, Mark Rosewater (the Big Kahunna of Magic R&D) has a scale he maintains for transparency with the fans, called the Rabiah Scale, that measures how likely the card game is to return to the Setting. The Setting of Rabiah is a 10, which means pretty much it will never ever happen, while Dominaria and Ravnica are 1, guaranteed to happen again multiple times. This seems to be a generally good indicator of how likely we are to see a D&D tie-in, being high on the Rabiah scale. Ravnica is a 1, and Theros is a 3. The other Settings with numbers above 4 are Dominaria, Zendikar, and Innistrad. Any Setting of 6 or above seems plausible for actually happening, and fitting for a D&D tie-in.

The narrative description of the numbers is as follows:

  • Level 1: Will definitely see again - Dominaria, Ravnica, and Innistrad
  • Level 2: Will definitely see again, but not necessarily right away - Zendikar
  • Level 3: Will most likely do again, probably many times - Theros
  • Level 4: Will most likely do again, but they have issues that make them less of a guarantee - Ikoria and Eldraine
  • Level 5: We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm optimistic - Alara, Amonkhet, Kaladesh, Lorwyn, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
  • Level 6: We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm a little less optimistic
  • Level 7: It's unlikely to return, but possible if the right environment comes along
  • Level 8: It's unlikely to return, but possible if the stars align
  • Level 9: I never say never, but this would require a minor miracle
-Level 10: I never say never, but this would require a major miracle

Thanks, this is very helpful. I would guess, then, that Zendikar, Innistrad, and Dominaria are as close to definite--and possibly in that order. Doesn't Zendikar lend itself well to high level play? Hmm...

The Levels 4-5 settings are all possibilities, but very unlikely to be in the works.

Where does Ixalan fit?
 

Parmandur

Legend
Thanks, this is very helpful. I would guess, then, that Zendikar, Innistrad, and Dominaria are as close to definite--and possibly in that order. Doesn't Zendikar lend itself well to high level play? Hmm...

The Levels 4-5 settings are all possibilities, but very unlikely to be in the works.

Where does Ixalan fit?
Well, Magic is putting out three Setting focused Sets a year, so the chances that they will visit any given 4-5 Setting eventually are quite good, and some of those (like Amonkhet, Eldraine, or Tarkir) would make excellent D&D Settings, so I wouldn't discount them in the long term. But yeah, those three are the big, likely culprits.

Per your musing about ranking the old D&D Settings, these are the ranking criteria that Rosewater has laid out on an old article (the precise rankings are somewhat outdated, he makes adjustments over time):

The Storm Scale was so popular on my blog that it has spawned numerous other scales. This article and next week's column are about one of these—the Rabiah Scale. The Rabiah Scale is about how likely we are to return to a plane in a Standard-legal set. It's named after Rabiah, the setting of Arabian Nights, because Rabiah is a 10 on the scale (aka we're very unlikely to return there). In today's column, I'm going to explain the various factors that go into predicting whether we'll return to a world and then rate each one on the scale, with 1 being very likely and 10 being very unlikely.

Here are the criteria I will be using:

Popularity

This criterion is very similar to the Storm Scale. Basically, did the audience like it? The more all of you like a particular world, the greater the chance of its return. I'm using data wherever I have access to it, but some of the earlier worlds, I'm using more anecdotal evidence as we didn't do market research in the early days.

Very Popular – This means that through our market research, this world falls in the top 25% of worlds of all time. Note that all these categories are comparing the current worlds against all the worlds we've done (well, since we started doing market research many years ago), so getting in this top section is difficult.
Popular – This means that through our marketing research, this world falls above the average, but not in the top 25%.
Liked – This means that through our research, this world falls below average but not in the bottom 25%. I should note that we aim for our average to be well liked, so being below average doesn't mean the majority of players don't like it, just that there are other worlds they like more. Being in this category doesn't automatically keep you from having a chance to return.
Unpopular – This means that our research puts this world in the bottom 25%. Falling in this last section does decrease the chance of a return.
Mechanical Identity

This category examines whether the world has mechanical associations. Is there something for us to mechanically design around? Is there a component that the audience associates with this world that would create excitement for its return?

Strong – This means the world is strongly associated with one or more mechanical components. This makes it easier to design, more likely to excite players, and increases its chances of a return.
Average – This means the world has some mechanical associations, but they are not as strong as they could be.
Weak – This world has little to no mechanical associations. This decreases its chances of a return.
Creative Identity

This is the companion to the mechanical identity category. Instead of looking at mechanics though, this category looks at the creative elements—the cosmology, the look and feel, the inhabitants, the locations. Do all of them have a strong cohesive feel that makes the world feel like a single unified world? The more the world has a creative cohesion, the easier it is to return to it and the more excited the players will get upon learning of a return.

Strong – This world has a very clear identity. For example, if you saw a random card, you'd know in a heartbeat that it came from this world.
Average – This world has an identity, but one not quite as crisp and delineated.
Weak – This world's identity is not as cohesive as we like worlds to be.
Room for Expansion

This category examines what space there is to create new things in this world. Sets, even returns, have to introduce new material. Is this world set up to allow new exploration? A big part of this category is how much the earlier visit(s) did to hint at other aspects of the world. The more room for expansion, the easier it will be to return there.

Significant Room for Expansion – This means the world has many new things to explore in a return.
Some Room for Expansion – This means the world has some new things to explore in a return.
Minimal Room for Expansion – This means the world would struggle to find new things to explore.
Story Continuation

This category talks about what story threads were left last time we were there. In other words, does returning to this world allow us to finish telling a story we started when we were there last? Note that this is weighted by how much the audience cares about a certain storyline.

Major Plot Line – This world set up a story or stories that players have been asking about.
Minor Plot Line – This world set up a story or stories that players have been asking about, but less.
Minimal/No Plot Line – This world set up a story or stories that players have not been asking about or didn't set up any stories.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Well, Magic is putting out three Setting focused Sets a year, so the chances that they will visit any given 4-5 Setting eventually are quite good, and some of those (like Amonkhet, Eldraine, or Tarkir) would make excellent D&D Settings, so I wouldn't discount them in the long term. But yeah, those three are the big, likely culprits.

Per your musing about ranking the old D&D Settings, these are the ranking criteria that Rosewater has laid out on an old article (the precise rankings are somewhat outdated, he makes adjustments over time):



Thanks. I also found the latest rankings:

1: Dominaria, Innistrad, Ravnica
2: Zendikar
3: Theros
4: Eldraine, Ikoria
5: Alara, Amonkhet, Kaladesh, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
6: Fiora, Ixalan, Regatha, Vryn
7: Kamigawa, Kylem, Muraganda, Shandalar
8: Segovia
9: Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha
10: Bablovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada

I would say that 1-3 are in the Likely category, 4-5 in Maybe, 6-8 are Unlikely, and 9-10 In the Vault.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Or:

Already Done: Ravnica, Theros
Almost Definitely: Dominaria, Innistrad, Zendikar
Probably-Maybe: Eldraine, Ikoria
Maybe: Alara, Amonkhet, Kaladesh, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
Unlikely-Maybe: Fiora, Ixalan, Regatha, Vryn,
Unlikely: Kamigawa, Kylem, Muraganda, Shandalar, Segovia
Almost Definitely Not: Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha, Bablovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada

OK, I'm starting to feel silly. Its sunny outside.
 

Don't know who you mean by "folks," but I don't know enough about Magic to be sitting on it. Sounds intriguing.
DRAGONS
The plane used to have massive 'dragon tempests,' where dragons were magically born out of thunder and lightning. The first five dragons each claimed territory as their own, and dragons born in those areas would become part of that elder dragon's brood.

Atarka was a massive and hungry bully, with smoldering antlers and fiery breath. Her brood hunted in the frigid steppes and glaciers, but would protect humans who hunted for them.

Dromoka was patient and merciful, her scales thick and her breath a searing beam of light. Her brood tried to teach humans of the deserts their morals.

Ojutai was meditative and cunning, lithe and feathered, able to breathe freezing gales. Atop remote mountain peaks, his brood gained enlightenment and learned esoteric magic, which they offered to those humans, in exchange for those humans erasing their own historical texts.

Silumgar was cruel and murderous, resembling a tusked serpent with venomous breath. In coastal jungles, his brood gathered mighty golden treasures and used necromancy to cow their humanoid minions.

Kolaghan was feral and free-spirited, covered in spines and wreathed in lightning. Her brood do not speak, but they will fight alongside the humans of the rolling plains in bloody raids on the other dragon broods, rewarding those who refuse to settle in cities or adopt any laws.

CLANS
There were also five main humanoid cultures, each organized around opposing one of the elder dragons.

The Temur Frontier seem Siberian-inspired, with tight family bonds, warriors with ferocious strength, and magic-users called whisperers who sense visions of another world in the northern lights. They call that world the Unwritten.

The Abzan Houses are Persia-inspired, building great walled cities, taming mighty siege animals, and focused above all on patiently enduring. When they die, Abzan willingly bond their spirits to a kin-tree, and can be called upon in times of war.

The Jeskai Way is a clan of mystics and monks who value strategy over strength, with a distinct Tibetan vibe. They have a loose alliance of mountain monastery strongholds, each of which perfects their own fighting styles and magical techniques. They were committed to gathering knowledge and guarding written history.

The Sultai Brood are Khmer- and Thai-inspired, a rich nation formed of an alliance of humans, naga, rakshasa, with expansionist goals but also a strong tie to their ancestors, the spirits of whom seem to live in the river jungles and lush farmlands.

Finally, the Mardu Horde are Turkish- and Mongol-inspired, but without a strong central leader. Each individual warchief would seek to bring glory to their riders by hunting dragons, which they saw as vermin. Other clans would both scorn the Mardu and rely on them, since one year they'd raid them, and the next they'd slay dragons who posed a far greater threat.

THE CRUX OF FATE
There might always have been two versions of Tarkir, or perhaps the Unwritten became the Written. But the great spirit dragon whose presence conjured the dragon tempests was slain by a Temur shaman, who used magic given her by a being from another world to steal the will of some newly-birthed dragons. In that world, the tempests ceased, and the clans gradually cut down the dragon broods, until eventually only their bones remained.

In another world, however, the spirit dragon was sealed in a chrysalis of angular stone. When he finally recovered from his wounds, he emerged to find centuries had passed, and his five children had subjugated the humanoid races.

Who gave the Temur shaman the power to slay the spirit dragon? And who spared him? How did both realities come to pass? While Temur whisperers can see the unwritten, is it possible to step between the two worlds? Do the khans of the five clans have an obligation to save their kin and invade that other world, to slay the dragon tyrants once again?

---

GAME MECHANIC OPTIONS
You want a 'Council of Wyrms' style option where players are dragons? You could do that in this setting.

You want a campaign focused on slaying dragons? Maybe create some new dragons with special abilities and weaknesses, to get a sort of vibe like the Monster Hunter video game franchise?

One mechanic from the card game was 'morph,' where certain cards had an ability to be played as face-down creatures, then later turned face up by paying a cost that varied card by card. While face-down, they were all identical - represented by a shimmering comet-like orb of gold or white flame. But you could turn them face-up to surprise your opponent, revealing some special power.

Narratively, this was tied to energy from the other timeline cloaking your real identity.

I'm not sure what you do with that as a PC, but it creates some cool adventure prospects, where the PCs can explore two parallel realities.

And since the whole setting is tuned toward facing big giant monsters, it gives them an opportunity to build new material for high-level play. Maybe go for a Dynasty Warriors inspired system where you can lead an army in mass combat (but with the same elegant speed of normal 5E mechanics, treating each army as just a big monster with stats and a couple special abilities)?
 
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Mercurius

Legend
I wish there was a D&D setting based on Codex Alera books by Jim Butcher.
My licensed settings of choice would be Malazan or Earthsea. I think the latter would be better served by a different system, maybe a simplified version of Ars Magica or something like Talislanta.
 

Tonguez

Hero
GAME MECHANIC OPTIONS
You want a 'Council of Wyrms' style option where players are dragons? You could do that in this setting.

You want a campaign focused on slaying dragons? Maybe create some new dragons with special abilities and weaknesses, to get a sort of vibe like the Monster Hunter video game franchise?

One mechanic from the card game was 'morph,' where certain cards had an ability to be played as face-down creatures, then later turned face up by paying a cost that varied card by card. While face-down, they were all identical - represented by a shimmering comet-like orb of gold or white flame. But you could turn them face-up to surprise your opponent, revealing some special power.

Narratively, this was tied to energy from the other timeline cloaking your real identity.

I'm not sure what you do with that as a PC, but it creates some cool adventure prospects, where the PCs can explore two parallel realities.

And since the whole setting is tuned toward facing big giant monsters, it gives them an opportunity to build new material for high-level play. Maybe go for a Dynasty Warriors inspired system where you can lead an army in mass combat (but with the same elegant speed of normal 5E mechanics, treating each army as just a big monster with stats and a couple special abilities)?
Tarkir is an awesome setting and building mechanics to allow for these styles of play here would be great. Dynasty Warriors is my favourite game series, so building mass combat rules to emulate Dynasty Warriors style combat would be incredible
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
My licensed settings of choice would be Malazan or Earthsea. I think the latter would be better served by a different system, maybe a simplified version of Ars Magica or something like Talislanta.
Yeah, we're going a bit off topic, but Ars Magica would be a better setting for Earthsea than D&D. Although I think probably a game custom made would be even better (that isn't always the case).
 

The Councyl of Wyrms could come back as reboot based in the homebreed Cris Perkins homebree's Iomandra.

There is a open door for the return of Birthright as setting for a future strategy videogame, maybe a strategy videogame for mobiles or tablets.

I have said the future of some lines are linked to possible multimedia projects, for example movies, cartoons or videogames.

Kara-Tur can come back, but it needs a lot of work because WotC needs feedback by the fandom by different Asian countries. And maybe to fix some changes, for example if they want to recover the martial adepts from Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords.

I doubt Rokugan because WotC hasn't got the rights, and to create a spiritual succesor with some little changes for the factions would be easier.

Pelinore is totally forgotten.

Jakandor is too "small" as setting, only humans and some classes, but a not too risky bet in case of some future action-live adaptation.

I don't know about if Paramount Pictures has got the exclusive rights but Mystara could come back as a videogame by Capcom.

Who owners rights about Blackmoor?
 

Tonguez

Hero
Pelinore is totally forgotten.
Pelinore isnt totally forgotten but it wasnt really a fully realised setting either.

Pelinore was really a series of artciles in the TSR UK magazine which gave lot of detail to fairly generic 'medieval' set pieces that could be dropped in to readers games.The articles were collated and theres a few PDF versions floating about the internet for those who might be interested.
 

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