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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!

mystara.png


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.

UPDATE:
WotC's approval of this sourcebook's release have been premature, i.e. it isn't greenlit.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Regarding Cleric. I feel the Mystara setting should focus on the "cosmic force" Cleric, choose a Domain that somehow relates to it in a significant way. Then the Ideal, Flaw, Quirk, and Bonds, can somehow relate thematically with this "cosmic force".

The goal is to have a concept that is plausibly "sacred", and cosmic force can do this.

Thus all Mystara Clerics have this cosmic force thematics in common.

Afterward different cultures can relate to this "cosmic force" in different ways, whether animistically, monotheistically, polytheistically, even alchemically, or so on. Whatever the character concept is.
 

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The Glen

Hero
And if they are a magical culture who live underground and who like stealth, it seems like the Drow Darkness spells would feel ok for the Shadow Elf concept, no? (And a Cleric too!)

It occurs to me, perhaps the Shadow Elf will turn out to resemble more the Aevendrow?
That's the thing. They aren't stealthy at all. They stick out like a sore thumb because they are the elf equivalent of Cave Fish. On the surface they disguise themselves as a another clan that they have a passing resemblance to. The stealthy elves live on the border between fantasy Serbia and fantasy Byzantium
 


cbwjm

Hero
By that argument, why aren't we giving out freebie darkness to dwarves, goblins, kobolds and gnomes?

It's not who the shadow elves are. It's a lot easier to just say "use High Elves for shadow elves" rather than pretend they're drow.

Best, IMO, for a 5E Mystara would be to create their own subrace, though.

For folks who are interested in the Shadow Elves, their gazetteer is available at DMs Guild.
I'd just give them high elf stats with better dark vision and sunlight sensitivity. I think that would pretty much cover a shadow elf.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
That's the thing. They aren't stealthy at all.
On the website I am surfing, it says the Shadow Elf have:
"+2 Intelligence, −2 Constitution"
"+2 racial bonus to Escape Artist, Move Silently, and Spot, and +4 bonus to Hide."

That seems especially stealthy to me.

(Is this official?)
 

Not necessarily. I'd leave the Sword Coast in the same time period forever, and just go to another region.
Skipping the world forward each edition lets them incorporate changes, whether based on the ruleset (which the Forgotten Realms is no stranger to having happen to it) or because developers in 2024, 2034 and so on find previous versions of a setting need updating to fit contemporary tastes.

If you leave it at the same year, the question becomes where all the dragonborn came from, what happened to half-orcs and assassins, etc.

TSR/WotC have always wanted to explain these changes inside the fiction of the game, rather than just say "oh, there's always been dragonborn" or "what are half-orcs?" Now, if George Orwell had designed the Forgotten Realms, rather than Ed Greenwood, that's likely the approach that would have been taken. ;)
 




Yaarel

Mind Mage
Mystara was originally the setting for Basic D&D, and in Basic D&D all elves were essentially fighter/magic-users. Basic didn't differentiate between race and class – the original classes were Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Thief, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling (some more were added in sourcebooks and expansions).
It seems to me, the 5e Eldritch Knight is spot on for a Basic Elf.

But I also want to see other kinds of Elf classes, such the 5e Bard to cover many important elven themes, including song.

There can be a culture that is prominently Eldritch Knight, but there can be other cultures as well.
 

Skipping the world forward each edition lets them incorporate changes, whether based on the ruleset (which the Forgotten Realms is no stranger to having happen to it) or because developers in 2024, 2034 and so on find previous versions of a setting need updating to fit contemporary tastes.

If you leave it at the same year, the question becomes where all the dragonborn came from, what happened to half-orcs and assassins, etc.

TSR/WotC have always wanted to explain these changes inside the fiction of the game, rather than just say "oh, there's always been dragonborn" or "what are half-orcs?" Now, if George Orwell had designed the Forgotten Realms, rather than Ed Greenwood, that's likely the approach that would have been taken. ;)
Not always. The 2e to 3e change in Forgotten Realms didn't have any explanation like that, but instead was just explained as a "better" approximation of the Realms. So the Simbul was "always" a sorcerer, it's just that there wasn't any sorcerer class in AD&D and wizard was the closest. There were still metaplot changes, but they were more part of the organic evolution of the setting than an explanation for why things are suddenly different.

And of course, Eberron has stayed in year 998 in every iteration, with places carved out for new additions.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
When moving from one edition to an other edition, there is necessarily a "translation".

The translator needs to pick and choose what in Basic is vital to preserve, and what can work better according to 5e sensibilities.
 

Not always. The 2e to 3e change in Forgotten Realms didn't have any explanation like that, but instead was just explained as a "better" approximation of the Realms. So the Simbul was "always" a sorcerer, it's just that there wasn't any sorcerer class in AD&D and wizard was the closest. There were still metaplot changes, but they were more part of the organic evolution of the setting than an explanation for why things are suddenly different.
Thanks. I misremembered the 2E/3E transition for the Forgotten Realms, thinking it was more like the 1E/2E and 3E/4E/5E transitions.
And of course, Eberron has stayed in year 998 in every iteration, with places carved out for new additions.
Good point. I'd love to know how WotC made the decision to not mess with their timeline, as the setting seems to be very close to precipitous changes. It would mean deviating from what DMs might have done at home, but that hasn't stopped them with the Forgotten Realms and it never stopped TSR.
 

It seems to me, the 5e Eldritch Knight is spot on for a Basic Elf.

But I also want to see other kinds of Elf classes, such the 5e Bard to cover many important elven themes, including song.

There can be a culture that is prominently Eldritch Knight, but there can be other cultures as well.
Aren't eldritch knights heavily armored as a general rule?

If we were pigeonholing a 5E race into a single class, which I don't think is really a thing this edition, it'd be something more in line with the 3E arcane archer prestige class, IMO.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
Made me wonder what if something was swapped out for the Magic Initiate or some other feat?
Elven weapon proficiency to go along with that Warcaster feat someone suggested to use a weapon as a spell focus?
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I think it's actually poorly explained metaplot: Something cataclysmic happened in Darkon involving Azalin. A bunch of changes happened to Ravenloft, entirely possibly due to whatever that scamp Azalin was wrapped up in.

I think some of the folks involved in the development of the book clearly believe we had a Grand Conjunction II or something, but the actual explicit mention doesn't show up in the book. My guess is that there was a communication breakdown somewhere along the way.

I mean, that's an ok interpretation to have, but without any actual confirmation that this is what Azalin's actions caused, this is just an interpretation. This is certainly not an example of metaplot if we need to invent a reason for why one thing could have caused another.

I actually like your interpretation, but without a confirmation we can't say for sure the retcon is anything more than a retcon.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Aren't eldritch knights heavily armored as a general rule?
It looks like the Basic Elf is actually Strength and Intelligence, judging by the xp bonus for advancement.

The Elf is beefy.

The Eldritch Knight makes sense.

Besides, the Eldritch Knight can wear the Mage Armor spell, making it appear like any armor (silk-like elf chain) that has no encumbrance.



If we were pigeonholing a 5E race into a single class, which I don't think is really a thing this edition, it'd be something more in line with the 3E arcane archer prestige class, IMO.
I dont want to pigeonhole anyone. At the same time, in Elf cultures where the Eldritch Knight makes sense, it can be a prominent class.

Pretty much every fullcaster can make sense depending on culture: Bard, Druid, Psion, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard.

Ancient-Oath Paladin. Ranger.

And so on.

A prominent Eldritch Knight can allow other options that make sense as well.



I want to point out the Basic Shadow Elf is an example of a fullcaster class, with slot-9 spells and everything. It isnt a gish. In 5e, the Shadow Elf is a fairly straightforward Wizard class. Or at least, Wizard is a prominent class among Shadow Elf. Cleric too.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Thanks. I misremembered the 2E/3E transition for the Forgotten Realms, thinking it was more like the 1E/2E and 3E/4E/5E transitions.

Good point. I'd love to know how WotC made the decision to not mess with their timeline, as the setting seems to be very close to precipitous changes. It would mean deviating from what DMs might have done at home, but that hasn't stopped them with the Forgotten Realms and it never stopped TSR.
It's been forever since I saw the explanation, like 4E era, but they made the very conscious decision to never advance the Eberron timeline and leave it in permanent Limbo, precisely to avoid metaplot ever happening.
 


Not always. The 2e to 3e change in Forgotten Realms didn't have any explanation like that, but instead was just explained as a "better" approximation of the Realms. So the Simbul was "always" a sorcerer, it's just that there wasn't any sorcerer class in AD&D and wizard was the closest. There were still metaplot changes, but they were more part of the organic evolution of the setting than an explanation for why things are suddenly different.

And of course, Eberron has stayed in year 998 in every iteration, with places carved out for new additions.
There were still a few changes from 2e to 3e. The calendar was advanced a few years, and there were some deity and magic changes such as Bane coming back and the introduction of the Shadow Weave...
 

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