D&D General UPDATE: this isn't greenlit : Jeff Grubb's Lost Mystara Sourcebook To Be Released

Ex-TSR designer Jeff Grubb wrote a Known World of Mystara sourcebook for AD&D 2E that was sadly never published. But now WotC has given permission for it's release to Shawn Stanley of the Vaults of Pandius website, the Official Mystara Homepage!


Grubb posted on Facebook:

"A long time ago I wrote a project for TSR converting the Known World of Mystara from D&D to AD&D 2nd Edition. Through a tale of woe and intrigue, (link below) that product was never completed, and instead became Karameikos, Kingdom of Adventure.

However, I kept a copy of the unfinished manuscript (well, print-out), and a short while ago, gave it to Shawn Stanley, who runs the Pandius Website. He in turn has cleaned it up a bit, and plans to release it, free, with WotC's blessing, to fans on the website's anniversary.

It is really nice to see this surface after so many years - it is a "Lost Tome" of D&D history, and I hope fans of the setting enjoy it."

He speaks more about the story, and why he left TSR, on his blog.

Mystara is a D&D campaign setting first published in the early 1980s, and was the 'default' setting for D&D for a long time.

Updates from @Dungeonosophy

Jeff Grubb gives an overview of the book on his blog

As for the release date: Shawn Stanley, Webmaster of the Vaults of Pandius, announced (here) that June 27th is the planned release date.

Some people were wondering if Jeff is involved in the release.

I reached out to Shawn Stanley on April 10th:
"Yes I was going to reach out to him with respect to providing some sort of foreword for the release. I had been intending to do so once I had finished the graphic design - but with the release of new news yesterday, I reached out to him yesterday. I also wanted to get his okay for the editing that I had done. But yes, I would think that anything that Jeff wants to write to accompany the document would be a great idea. I do kind of agree that something a little bit less-depressing than the blog posts might be preferable - something to celebrate the release than recall the negative things that had happened during that time."
"I do hope that he will agree."

Jeff also responded to me on April 10th:
"Shawn has been in touch with me, and I will be glad to write a brief foreword for the project."

Which will be a fulfillment of Jeff's offer back in 2019:
"If you succeed [with the petition], I will be glad to provide an intro with a less-depressing history of the project."

Note Vaults of Pandius is the Official Mystara Homepage! Given that designation by WotC, back in the 2000s, when Jim Butler was managing fan policy for "other worlds." There's an official agreement and everything. That's why the site is the natural host for this.

WotC's approval of this sourcebook's release have been premature, i.e. it isn't greenlit.
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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
That would be a welcome change. Honestly, all they would really need to do is to put out overall campaign settings in the format they've already successfully developed for 5e, and just point out anyone needing any further fluff/detail to the DMs Guild for older products. That would save us from the '90s-type product glut. Although if they did want to put out periodic legacy products beyond that, I would be fine with that!

I'm now wondering if the May Ravenloft book is something of a trial balloon for this (Eberron is a bit different as its inherent popularity made an update fairly inevitable).

Personally I like the mix of product releases being old and new (I think both Theros and Ravnica are great books), but I totally agree that revamping older material is a big win. People love nostalgia, and these settings are nostalgic!

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Jeff Carpenter

Hi, I'm the guy who ran the two-year-long Petition to WotC to Release the Mystara Worldbook.

Maybe you can help me petition to get my compiled BX book up on DMs Guild.

I don't want money I just want to spread the BX love, but I dont own the IP so can't distribut it. I have no idea where to start.

Big Mac

That sounds like a big nail in the coffin of getting Mystara released as an official 5E setting. If WotC were going to do an update, why would they let that out anywhere other than on DMs Guild?
It doesn't mean anything of the sort.

This 2nd Edition AD&D manuscript got sent to Vaults of Pandius (the official Mystara fansite) in 2017 and they have been working for four years on getting approval, from WotC to get this released, as well as tidying it up and making sure that Jeff Grubb is happy with how it looks.

There is no sudden 5th Edition or DMs Guild-related decision on this by WotC.

The only reason it was kept secret was that Vaults of Pandius wanted it to be a surprise for fans.

But when someone who discovered that Jeff Grubb sent the manuscript to Vaults of Pandius, started to make a call for people to bombard WotC customer services with complaints (when they had already authorised Vaults of Pandius to publish this and the editing work was already underway) Shawn probably had to announce that he already had the rights to publish it.

It occupies a similar space to things like the unpublished Ivid the Undying manuscript that was released to Greyhawk fans a long time ago.

Ray Winston is the person to watch, to find out if Mystara is going to get official 5th Edition D&D treatment. He is the one that promised that Wizards of the Coast were working on bringing back three classic D&D settings. And since then, he has said that they have not limited the returning settings to three settings. (That's just the ones they are actively working on.)

And there are not that many settings to come back. So if 5e sticks around, we might get a book for most of the classic settings.
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I swear I've already seen someone doing this, but it might have been an update to 3e rather than 5e. I'm already planning on throwing an Actaeon at the party, though maybe not as an adversary but as a fey protector of the woodlands. Not sure why, perhaps because it is the first monster in the RC, but the Actaeon always stuck with me as an iconic known world monster.

It was a 5e update, found it on The Piazza: Converting Rules Cyclopedia Monsters to 5E - The Piazza

Lots of great beasties there. Hugin is doing an amazing job converting those unique Mystara monsters :)



Isle of Dread has a more fleshed out Mystara Setting section in the 5E upgrade. Seems like it was meant to fit in with Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Interesting. I had not considered that GMG and WotC might have been coordinating these two projects.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh does name drop Mystara several times, along with a few other settings.

Here is my complete(?) list of Mystara teasers in published material for the last three editions: 3E/4E/5E Mystara Product List (and Downloads) - The Piazza


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