Saturday, September 26, 2020 Fails to Notice Mystara's Incredible Fan Base

Could Mystara be set to return as a published setting by Wizards of the Coast in the near future? Over the last few weeks, the rumor that WotC are planning to bring back three classic settings has lead to speculation all over the web about which three settings WotC are looking at. 

This incredible painting by Clyde Cladwell would have been a much better illustration for an article discussing the D&D World of Mystara.

Recently Tim Baker at The Piazza brought to my attention that an article at had a run down about what settings they thought were the most likely candidates. While the article was interesting, I found the description of Mystara very disappointing. Not only was the choice of image illustrating the setting disappointing, but it was especially this line that drew my attention:

"While fan love for this setting exists, it’s far quieter than other classic settings."

Mystara first appeared in 1981's classic adventure X1 Isle of Dread. While the setting was very popular and during the TSR era had more sourcebooks published for it than any other D&D or AD&D setting, the setting and its fans have a long history of being ignored by TSR and later WotC. While various teasers appeared for the setting during the D&D 3E and 4E eras, D&D 5th Edition was recieved especially positively for its explicit mention of the setting in the Players Handbook and with the adventure hardback Ghosts of Saltmarsh making extensive suggestions for how to adapt each chapter to the setting and even including a rewamped version of the Mystara adventure Isle of the Abbey. 

So how about this claim that the fans of Mystara are more quiet than fans of other settings? Mystara has had an incredibly active and dedicated online fan base that I have been a member of since the 1990s. Today these fans can be found on various Facebook groups including the 2,5000+ member Mystara Reborn group and on the D&D webforum The Piazza. The fan works of this highly productive and extremely friendly fan base is collected at the Vaults of Pandius website and also releases a quarterly 300+ page PDF professional looking free fanzine Threshold Magazine which is soon to release its 26th issue, not counting earlier iterations under other titles like the Mystara NetMag, Tome of Mystara etc.

So why is it that this community remains invisble to the world at large? Is it that we mostly prefer to stick to our own parts of the Internet? Or just that others don't know where to look for us? In any case it is a shame, because there are gamers out there who are missing out on something they might really enjoy!



  1. Replies
    1. Famous novels would definitely have helped. I guess the best known novels would be the Dragonlord Trilogy in which every novel had "Mystara" as part of the title too. They probably weren't best sellers though. Its a darn shame that Aaron Allston never got to write the Wrath of the Immortals novels he wanted to write.

  2. Well, Dark Sun is definitely on the list. I think there is a good chance that Mystara will be one of the other 2 settings, and here's why:

    Mystara is less well known, and has tons of untapped potential. There are loads and loads of material to mine. The Blackmoor science/fantasy connection, the Gazetteer series, the Voyage of the Princess Ark, the Hollow World, the Wrath of the Immortals. It's a no-brainer.

    Plus, there are the signs - Mystara was singled out as one of a very few settings in "Ghost of Saltmarsh" with advice on how to adapt the adventure. Also, Goodman Games' OAR series is doing well, with "The Lost City" and next, "Castle Amber" due for release.

    Finally, Mystara is different enough from the other settings, that it will stand out. Buckle up, Mystara-philes!

    1. Fingers crossed! I like your optimism here Paleologos! :)

  3. Hey! Thanks for reading my blog post. I'm a fan of Mystara... I just don't see it getting into the next 3 and I stand by that. I'm not the one ignoring the setting, WotC is. I included it in my article and I'd be happy to see any new setting, including Mystara! Birthright was the setting ignored by my article... and I got to hear about it.

    As for the illustration, I needed something that looks good and that video game was well received... maybe even an intro to the setting for some newer fans :) If you have a better idea for an image the represents the setting, please share.

    1. Hello Shawn, thanks for taking the time to come over here to comment! :) I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusion about the three settings, but I think WotC are making a mistake by ignoring Mystara. As for an illustration I recommend the one I use for this article. It was used for the cover of the book Gaz1 Grand Duchy of Karameikos (you could use the cover too), which to many people is the essence of Mystara. Hope to see more mentions of Mystara on Tribality in the future! :)

    2. The more settings the better. I feel the same way about Nentir Vale. Abandoned.


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