Thursday, December 13, 2012

Origin of Mystara's Known World

Known World Map Replica by Thorfinn Tait
The D&D fantasy world that later grew into the World of Mystara, originally referred to as the D&D Game World, or simply the Known World first appeared in the module X1 The Isle of Dread (1981) by Tom Moldvay and David "Zeb" Cook. 

It has for a long time been rumoured that Tom Moldvay ( 1948 – 2007) based the setting on elements from his own campaign. However, over at the Mystara Facebook Group, James Mishler just reported the following:

Per Lawrence Schick in a post I just read..."...the Known World was originally based on the shared-world campaign Tom Moldvay and I ran in Akron, Ohio, before we were hired by TSR. I invented most of the names, including Thyatis, Ylaruam, Ierendi, Darokin, Atruaghin, and Glantri."

The origin of the names of the various countries has also been up to some speculation. Frank Mentzer has hinted that Ylaruam was simply the word Morally spelled backwards. This seems to be well in line with Moldvay & Cook's modus operandi. Another location developed by the two in the same setting is the city of Yavdlom, which also reveals a code if spelled backwards. 



  1. Thanks for this post, Havard: I didn't know that Tom and LJS' home campaign formed the basis for the Known World! (And I haven't mined it for anagrams and homages for my page @ either).

    Definitely appreciate the info :D


  2. Great post, and very interesting! I had always assumed Cook was more involved in the genesis.


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