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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Jer

Legend
Supporter
If folks don't know about this, Pandius also has another Mystaran setting book up that was killed before TSR could publish it - the Savage Coast Campaign Setting. It's set on the western part of the continent that the Known World is set on and is also a 2e campaign setting book. In fact from the blog post that Jeff Grubb wrote it sounds like the format of the book is similar to the vision he had for the Known World book. TSR released it to the internet back in I think '96 or '97 and some volunteers have done some nice jobs reformatting what they put out to create some nice PDFs out of it. (Top of that page where it says "Savage Coast Campaign Setting").
 

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Orius

Legend
I'm guessing WotC is letting Pandius put this up because it was an unfinished 2e product similar to how they had Ivid the Undying and some Birthright material up which I think they're letting the fan sites host since the old 2e download links seem to be dead on WotC's site. Pandius does have the Savage Coast stuff after all which used to be on the old 2e page, including conversions to .pdf.

I read the story some time ago on Grubb's blog about what was supposed to have been the main Mystara box, and how one of TSR's VPs got his dander up over the silly logo. Sounds like more of the same ridiculous politics that was always going on behind the scenes at TSR. It sounds like the work on the boxed set wasn't finished, but it's good that at least some of the material, arguably the really important stuff will see the light of day. The spell conversions are probably a loss, but Mystara did get a MC, and Pandius has plenty of map resources already, so anything else would probably have been the usual filler that got stuffed in the boxes.

Given the scope of what Grubb said this material contains, it's probably the most comprehensive source of material for the Known World portion of Mystara. X1 had the initial overview, but it was generally only a short descriptive paragraph for each kingdom in the Known World. The RC updated some of that material and included info on the Hollow World, but mostly pointed DMs to the Gazetteers. This box would have had an updated coverage of the whole Known World area plus Sind (which was added in X4, and expanded on by Bruce Heard in the Voyages of the Princess Ark).
 

Koren n'Rhys

Explorer
And who is the target demographic? Not the social influencers on Critical Role, I bet. Unless I misread 2e to be 5e, then, this could be a hit!
Anyone who is a fan of Mystara and could care less about things like Critical Role?

I'm psyched for this, personally. Seeing how Jeff updated the mechanics to 2E will be fascinating. More interesting and useful to me than a 5E conversion would be.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
And who is the target demographic? Not the social influencers on Critical Role, I bet. Unless I misread 2e to be 5e, then, this could be a hit!

Anyone who is a fan of Mystara and could care less about things like Critical Role?

I'm psyched for this, personally. Seeing how Jeff updated the mechanics to 2E will be fascinating. More interesting and useful to me than a 5E conversion would be.
Not sure where the randon Critical Role shade is coming from, Matt Mercer is very probably a Mystara fan himself.
 




Nathaniel Lee

Adventurer
I saw the post, I just have no idea why they made the attempt to make a false dichotomy between classic D&D and Critical role.
It's probably because Critical Role is well known to be the core driver of the massive influx of new D&D players that has served 5th Edition so well, mixed with a little bit of educated guessing that most of the fans — being super diehard Critical Role loyalists first and D&D fans second — won't have a ton of interest in one of the lesser well known official campaign settings that has been defunct for multiple editions of the game.
 

lkj

Hero
Since it is being released for free on a Mystara fansite, it would seem to me that the target audience is built into the announcement. Sure, it would be nice if it got broader attention and led to some official revival. But I don't think there's anything in what's happening to suggest that anyone involved expects anything of the kind to happen. Nor, I suspect, is that the goal. Mystara fans are just excited to have this near mythical manuscript finally released.

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
most of the fans — being super diehard Critical Role loyalists first and D&D fans second
This is a weird gatekeeping stereotype.

If all Critical Role fans cared about was Critical Role, the best-selling D&D books would be the corebooks and Wildemount and everything else would be dramatically less popular. But that's not what the sales charts say at all.

This stereotype doesn't seem to be based in anything more than viewing the newcomers as engaging in badwrongfun, rather than embracing them.

The last few years have brought a lot of great new ideas to the hobby, both D&D specifically and RPGs more generally. Anyone deciding turning up their nose at those new ideas is doing themselves a disservice -- and you'll likely be playing those good ideas in a D&D edition anyway.
 
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