Mike Mearls tweet: Is the Known World of Mystara coming to 5e? (What's Cool About Mystara?)


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The Glen

Hero
Alfheim is correct, though after Wrath of the Immortals the nation gets taken over by Shadow Elves and becomes Aengmor. And then all the trees die
 


Even though I'm pro-Mystara, I'd personally I'd first like to see a Spelljammer+Planescape+Chronomancer* meta-setting book, which includes a planar/galactic map of all the worlds and planes ever mentioned in any D&D product, along with world-hopping adventure arc which visits a dozen of those worlds. I'd be happy for Mystara to just be one of many adventure locales in a world-hopping uber-setting: the D&D Multiverse.

*(Chronomancer, because then can visit Age of Blackmoor, Arcane Age of Forgotten Realms, and so forth. Plus, the timelines of the published settings are "off" by over hundred years.)
 
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DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
Even though I'm pro-Mystara, I'd personally I'd first like to see a Spelljammer+Planescape+Chronomancer* meta-setting book, which includes a planar/galactic map of all the worlds and planes ever mentioned in any D&D product, along with world-hopping adventure ark which visits a dozen of those worlds.

Can I take my vote back so I can recast it against this as repeatedly and as violently as possible?

This is the cancer that killed Spelljammer by robbing it of any sense of its own identity, and everything that is tolerable about all of the standard primeworld settings is what makes them different. If you've got four different kitchen sinks full of slightly different flavors of dishwater to drink, you gain absolutely nothing by mixing them first.

I'd be happy for Mystara to just be one of many adventure locales in a world-hopping uber-setting: the D&D Multiverse.

If that's what they're going to do, I would rather they just didn't. I would rather they pulled their PDFs from stores again than **** on their predecessors' work this way.
 

I would rather they pulled their PDFs from stores again than **** on their predecessors' work this way.

These worlds were connected from the start. The Mystara gazetteers had appendices with gates leading to Oerth and Toril. The original 1st Edition Dragonlance hardcover had extensive rules for what happens if a character from another world comes to Krynn. All the worlds were mention in Planescape, and had cameos from all worlds. Athas of course was cut off...but obviously its solar system lies within the D&D Multiverse, and there have been Dark Sun characters in Planescape. Ed Greenwood had the Egyptian and Babylonian pantheons actually travel from Earth to Toril. There was the Wizards Three series of articles.

Of course your position is a valid preference, and reflects occasional statements from some of the world-specific TSR authors such as Weiss and Hickman, but your preference is different than what the published D&D Multiverse has been in every edition. Same for 5E: the PHB lists all the D&D worlds as being located in the same Material Plane.

Presenting all the worlds of the D&D Multiverse as a single brand is not so different than the rebranding of the lands of Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, Maztica as a single Forgotten Realms brand. It doesn't destroy the tone of Zakhara, Kara-Tur, or Maztica to highlight their connections with Faerun.

These are not pristine, haute-couture "art-worlds", or singular literary worlds like JRRT's Middle-earth. It's D&D!
 

Remathilis

Legend
These worlds were connected from the start. The Mystara gazetteers had appendices with gates leading to Oerth and Toril. The original 1st Edition Dragonlance hardcover had extensive rules for what happens if a character from another world comes to Krynn. All the worlds were mention in Planescape, and had cameos from all worlds. Athas of course was cut off...but obviously its solar system lies within the D&D Multiverse, and there have been Dark Sun characters in Planescape. Ed Greenwood had the Egyptian and Babylonian pantheons actually travel from Earth to Toril. There was the Wizards Three series of articles.

Of course your position is a valid preference, and reflects occasional statements from some of the world-specific TSR authors such as Weiss and Hickman, but your preference is different than what the published D&D Multiverse has been in every edition. Same for 5E: the PHB lists all the D&D worlds as being located in the same Material Plane.

Presenting all the worlds of the D&D Multiverse as a single brand is not so different than the rebranding of the lands of Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, Maztica as a single Forgotten Realms brand. It doesn't destroy the tone of Zakhara, Kara-Tur, or Maztica to highlight their connections with Faerun.

These are not pristine, haute-couture "art-worlds", or singular literary worlds like JRRT's Middle-earth. It's D&D!
Thank you. That is perfectly said. Those worlds are D&D worlds, both in the system played and the greater multiverse they exist in.
 

havard

Adventurer
I think its great seeing Mystara as part of the conversation again.

I see many people in this thread talking about what Mystara is, but I think it might also be useful to talk about how Mystara should be presented to a modern audience. Mystara in its original form (BECMI) was incredibly powerful, but the AD&D 2nd edition failed. A return to Mystara should learn from the mistakes made back then.

AD&D2nd Ed Mystara made two important mistakes:
a) TSR decided that Mystara should be presented as a kind friendly setting. (Not even kids want a kiddie setting).
b) TSR decided that in order to make Mystara as compatible with 2nd Ed as possible, they would tone down all the features that set the world apart from the other AD&D worlds.

I think you need to present the world in a way that amps up some of its unique features:
1) Pulp sense of wonder, not gritty.
2) Room for both low level exploration and plane hopping world altering epics.
3) a world where every hero has a real chance of becoming an Immortal or interracting with Immortals.
4) A fantasy world built on the ruins of a high technological civilization
5) A world where every elf can cast at least a few spells
6) A world where the strangest races feel right at home
7) A world where Secret orders of Wizards have access to unique powers
8) A flying city, flying ships, floating islands
9) Dark Nightmare Powers lurking behind the scenes

etc...


If we can't have a single book dedicated to each of the classic worlds, how about a single volume covering multiple worlds? I think it would be a great addition to all 5E games!

-Havard
 

The Glen

Hero
Focus on what made each setting different so the players can choose how they want to play. Mystara is very much left for the players to discover. Lost Cities, hidden valleys, Borderlands, secret societies, and all of this before you reach level 4. How many of the nations are completely settled? Ierendi is the only one I can think of everything else has vast expanses of wilderness. The fact that players were expected to rise in their social ranks by becoming members of nobility was written into the rules. that was something that was missing in a lot of the other settings.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Focus on what made each setting different so the players can choose how they want to play. Mystara is very much left for the players to discover. Lost Cities, hidden valleys, Borderlands, secret societies, and all of this before you reach level 4. How many of the nations are completely settled? Ierendi is the only one I can think of everything else has vast expanses of wilderness. The fact that players were expected to rise in their social ranks by becoming members of nobility was written into the rules. that was something that was missing in a lot of the other settings.

That makes me think. Since Birthright and its domain management rules were not very popular, maybe they could mix add the domain rules to Mystara, since the rules and lore make a lot a place for social advancement and the place of heroes in the world politic. The Big Book of the Known World could be this type of D&D: the one where your adventurer gets to epic levels and rules for titles and domains. If Eberron is the setting where magic items are a common reward/currency, maybe Mystara could be the setting where renown and titles are as common.

I know the DMG has the some basic rules for building, renown and alternative reward, but I think a specific setting could expand them, just as I think Darksun could be the setting where exploration and survival rules are expanded.
 

guachi

Adventurer
I've used lots of information that Havard and The Glen (who I assume is Glen Welch) have published at Pandius or YouTube. In fact, when my players entered Darokin I just played the 10 minute video by Glen Welch and let the players listen to it while getting my stuff ready for the session.

Mystara benefits from fans really knowing the setting and with nothing published for two decades there's lots of fan material to pick and choose from to alter the game to your liking.

It's easy enough to take point #6 in Havard's post (a world where the strangest races feel right at home) to, for example, justify adding Tieflings and or Dragonborn.

Mystara was very additive and only rarely subtractive. It added all sorts of races, classes, nations, to the game. There's even the only example of fantasy Dutch I can recall. And it's a horrible pun as they are Followers of the Flame - Flaemish. So adding Tieflings or Dragonborn makes sense. There are even Diaboli that you could refluff as Tieflings if you wanted to.

The rare subtractive elements are justifying why half-elfs don't exist and why dwarves/halflings can't cast arcane magic, for example.

The setting also does a great job of mimicking 5e's Tiers of Play, which roughly follow the BECMI boxed sets. You see it in Havard's point #2 (Room for both low level exploration and plane hopping world altering epics.) The modules were forced to accommodate the boxed sets and the Gazetteers were forced to accommodate the modules. The result is that if I ever got a campaign to double digit levels I'd have tons of options based on the PCs' prior choices.
 

Remathilis

Legend
AD&D2nd Ed Mystara made two important mistakes:
a) TSR decided that Mystara should be presented as a kind friendly setting. (Not even kids want a kiddie setting).
b) TSR decided that in order to make Mystara as compatible with 2nd Ed as possible, they would tone down all the features that set the world apart from the other AD&D worlds.

Both of these mistakes came from a notion that since Mystara was the Basic D&D world, it had to be newbie-friendly to the point of making it First Quest compatible. It wasn't the 2nd edition compatibility that ruined those elements (as Red Steel/Savage Baronies were both 2e, as was the superb Mystara Monster Compendium) but that editorial mandate that the setting shouldn't deviate from the PHB in order to be "newb-friendly". So we lost the ability to have unique subraces, meaningful kits, specialty priests, new races and spells, and other elements converted/reimagined from Basic to 2e.

I'm pretty sure that if Mystara gets an official update again, they will do so in a way that honors its BECMI roots and tone while making it work with 5e. The world is generic enough that I could see dragonborn, tieflings, half-orcs, warlocks, sorcerers, and such fitting in with little problem.
 

The Glen

Hero
I actual prefer Mystara with restrictions based on its history. Dwarves don't do arcane magic because that's the only way they survived the Great Rain of Fire. The dwarves that could are either in the Hollow World to save them, or are the Rot Dwarves trapped in their mountains in the Northern Reaches and cursed with insanity. There's a lot of Mystara that differs from Forgotten Realms which causes some conflict with Fifth edition. No half races for example, you carry the genes of the other race and there's a chance you could have children of another race or one of your ancestors could. Sorcery I found to be a bit of a problem, Mystara doesn't do wild magic. The magic is extremely stable, expecially with the Radiance. Now the radiance would be a great source of sorcery. As far as dragonborn, they are a bit superfluous, considering Mystara already has four playable reptilian races with the cayman, gatormen, lizardmen, and Chameleon Men. Sometimes a race is better defined by what it doesn't have than what it does.
 

That makes me think. Since Birthright and its domain management rules were not very popular, maybe they could mix add the domain rules to Mystara, since the rules and lore make a lot a place for social advancement and the place of heroes in the world politic. The Big Book of the Known World could be this type of D&D: the one where your adventurer gets to epic levels and rules for titles and domains. If Eberron is the setting where magic items are a common reward/currency, maybe Mystara could be the setting where renown and titles are as common.

I know the DMG has the some basic rules for building, renown and alternative reward, but I think a specific setting could expand them, just as I think Darksun could be the setting where exploration and survival rules are expanded.

Yeah, dominion-building could be one of the core shticks of Mystara. But if I had to pick just one shtick, I'd make it the world which has fully detailed Immortal/Deity-level play. Or maybe, the world with Furries. Or the world with Real World cultures and languages (hey, put your Spanish to use!).
 

I actual prefer Mystara with restrictions based on its history. Dwarves don't do arcane magic because that's the only way they survived the Great Rain of Fire. The dwarves that could are either in the Hollow World to save them, or are the Rot Dwarves trapped in their mountains in the Northern Reaches and cursed with insanity. There's a lot of Mystara that differs from Forgotten Realms which causes some conflict with Fifth edition.

Well, that's partially because Mystara hasn't been officially updated since 2e, back when no dwarves anywhere had access to arcane magic. If the situation were reversed, with Mystara being the default 5e world and FR not being updated since 2e, you could say the same thing about dwarves in our hypothetical un-updated FR, since at that point they would never had had access to arcane magic either!
 


Mike Mearls said he's working on 5E subclasses and subraces for Mystara. In the Original Post, I just listed some of what I think are "Mystara-wide" subclasses. But if we covered all of the KW, Savage Coast, and Hollow World (and Invisible Moon), what would the "complete" list of subclasses look like?

And what about subraces? Which races and subraces would be "Mystara-wide", and what would the "complete" list of races/subraces look like?

The most basic Mystara-wide iconic races/subraces might be:

  • Forest Elf (the term "forest elf" is used in at least one of the Gazetteers to refer to the "generic" elf of Mystara)
  • Shadowelf
  • Rockborn Dwarf
  • Shire Hin
  • Mongrel Lupin
  • Alley Rakasta
  • Tortle (I don't have Bruce Heard's tortle article in front of me; what's the generic tortle breed called?)
 
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havard

Adventurer
I've used lots of information that Havard and The Glen (who I assume is Glen Welch) have published at Pandius or YouTube.

I am happy to hear that! Thank you! :)



It's easy enough to take point #6 in Havard's post (a world where the strangest races feel right at home) to, for example, justify adding Tieflings and or Dragonborn.

Mystara was very additive and only rarely subtractive. It added all sorts of races, classes, nations, to the game. There's even the only example of fantasy Dutch I can recall. And it's a horrible pun as they are Followers of the Flame - Flaemish. So adding Tieflings or Dragonborn makes sense. There are even Diaboli that you could refluff as Tieflings if you wanted to.

I agree. While traditionalist Mystara DM's might feel like removing those races (and that would be ok), that's not how I would handle it in a published version. Too much "no, you can't do that" will just turn people off and that's not what a publisher would want. Instead I would simply explain that these races are very rare and offer a few sentences on where they might be found. I would not spend more than that on these races though as there are plenty of other things to focus on.

The rare subtractive elements are justifying why half-elfs don't exist and why dwarves/halflings can't cast arcane magic, for example.

Half-elves do exist on the Savage Coast though. Also, Morigsverg Dwarves are very good candidates for Dwarf arcane spellcasters. Again this is all about how to phrase things. If you write something like "No Wizard, Sorerer or Warlock has been seen among Rockborn Dwarves for nearly two milennia. These dwarves are highly suspicious of the idea of a dwarf arcane caster, though they are more than willing to work with human wizards, as long as they aren't from Glantri." Then it is more left up to the DM to make a final ruling. But it is up to the individual DM or designer to think about these things.


The setting also does a great job of mimicking 5e's Tiers of Play, which roughly follow the BECMI boxed sets. You see it in Havard's point #2 (Room for both low level exploration and plane hopping world altering epics.) The modules were forced to accommodate the boxed sets and the Gazetteers were forced to accommodate the modules. The result is that if I ever got a campaign to double digit levels I'd have tons of options based on the PCs' prior choices.

That is an excellent point. :)

-Havard
 

havard

Adventurer
Well, that's partially because Mystara hasn't been officially updated since 2e, back when no dwarves anywhere had access to arcane magic. If the situation were reversed, with Mystara being the default 5e world and FR not being updated since 2e, you could say the same thing about dwarves in our hypothetical un-updated FR, since at that point they would never had had access to arcane magic either!

True. However, many things from the BECMI rules are closely woven into the setting. Removing all of those features would leave you with the rather bland version of the setting that appeared in its 2E form. In the case of the dwarves, the setting specifies that the dwarven resitance to magic is linked to the recreation of the race after the destruction of Blackmoor. This prevents Rockborn dwarves from casting (arcane) spells and is also why Glantri Wizards have performed experiments on captured dwarves. Is this more than a feature of the rules at this point? See my post above about how to present the setting in a way that leaves these decisions more up to the DM though.

-Havard
 


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