Mystara as part of the Wilderlands?

Weird red metals, dominions, immortals, hollow planets, invisible moons, and a lot of glorified magic zeppelins. It's all here.
The Book-House: Find Mystara products, Find Known World products.

Moderators: Havard, Cthulhudrew, Gawain_VIII, Seer of Yhog

Post Reply
User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
Posts: 4068
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Gender: male
Location: Long Beach, CA

Mystara as part of the Wilderlands?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:35 pm

Just ran across an interesting quote from Frank Mentzer in his article describing the revised Basic and Expert sets ("A New Game With A Familiar Name," Dragon Magazine #77).
Humans can work their way up to level 36 (15-25 in the Companion Set, 26-36 in Masters). All characters can either travel or settle down to rule their domains, living in and running their own castles... And the Overlord reigns supreme but only until deposed by some lucky, clever, and powerful player character.
(Bolded for emphasis)

He explains in the article that he has expanded the world described by Cook in the prior Expert set (and X1) and then further mentions the map by Francois Froideval that appears in the Masters Set, and then there is that line about the Overlord (capitalized), which makes me wonder if Frank had originally intended that the Wilderlands developed by the Judges Guild were going to be a part of this world (not as yet named Mystara).

I know there have been some suppositions and some combinations (I believe I've seen a couple of maps, both pre- and post-Blackmoor), but I've never seen anything quite as direct as this inference.
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image

User avatar
Mike
Ogre
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Gender: male
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)
Contact:

Re: Mystara as part of the Wilderlands?

Post by Mike » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:06 pm

I don't know anything about what Mentzer might have been thinking, but I have looked at how to incorporate the wilderlands into Mystara.

My first idea was to place the Wilderlands north and west of Yalu Bay in the far west, approximately where the Empire of Zuyevo is located in fanon. The main reason for this placement is that the Wilderlands is surrounded by land, and opens to the sea to the south and southeast, so I was looking for a "southern coast" placement where it wouldn't intrude too much into canon. Ultimately this felt too forced, and encroached too much on developed areas in the SC.

Another placement that I put work into was in the middle of Skothar. The demon lands would be northeast of Minaea; the desert lands and Viridistan east of the Jennite steppe; Valon somewhere north near Blackmoor. I think the "ancient high tech" and rain of fire fit better near Blackmoor.

User avatar
Morfie
Metamorph
Posts: 635
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:48 am
Gender: male
Location: New Zealand

Re: Mystara as part of the Wilderlands?

Post by Morfie » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:56 am

In a previous mashup I did, I put it just above the Vulture Peninsula in Davania.
Southern Reaches area is touching the top of it, and the sea becomes an inland sea of Davania.

As far as the climate goes, there is no good place to put the whole thing. We have northern glaciers, hot deserts, humid jungles, and southern tundra all together in a comparatively small area.

User avatar
Mike
Ogre
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Gender: male
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)
Contact:

Re: Mystara as part of the Wilderlands?

Post by Mike » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:51 pm

With respect to the question posed by Cthulhudrew, I'm thinking "no" (there was no integration intended) for a few reasons.

First, he says the Master's Set map is already in existence, and that map makes no mention of any of the wilderlands nations, and none of the coastlines are compatible with the wilderlands.

Second, by Sep 1983 when this was published, Judges Guild had lost its license to produce AD&D materials, so I doubt that anyone at TSR would be promoting or using any JG material.

Third, I believe the JG license was for AD&D (?), and by 1983 TSR was being very careful to keep D&D and AD&D separate.

That said... Mentzer says in this article that the X1 example map is now an "official" game world for the BD&D line. Previously it was only a sample wilderness. I was rereading Let's Read The Known World/Mystara, and modules published in 1981 by Moldvay pretty much avoided explicit placement in the Known World. He even went so far as to scrub out KW references in the revision of B3. By 1982, X4/X5 were expanding the setting, but Mentzer was surely already at work on BECMI when these were being written, and making the setting official was probably already planned. Still, in 1981 there was no official setting, just a sample wilderness. I know when I started with Expert as a teenager, that is how I took it, and I started creating my own worlds using it as a pattern, rather than thinking of it as official.

If there was no official gameworld for BD&D, and JG was publishing officially licensed AD&D product until 1982, then the Wilderlands might have been perceived as a "default official setting" for D&D. Lots of people were using JG modules in their settings, and presumably using TSR modules in the Wilderlands.

In that sense, if a lot of people had played existing campaigns in the Wilderlands, then they would be familiar with the Overlord as a super-high-level, nigh untouchable NPC. There was no way 14th level characters could hope to challenge him. The Companion and Master set promised to allow levels of power that would exceed the Overlord himself. Mentzer also hints at the Immortals Set (which he suggests here is the official revision of Gods Demigods and Heroes) that definitely trumps any mortal overlord.

Also, any existing campaigns in the Wilderlands using D&D rules (OD&D, Holmes, B/X) would not be expected to switch to the known world. Mentzer is clearly addressing existing experienced players here, who already have a campaign world, and is not assuming that anyone is using the KW as a setting. If they are already playing in the Wilderlands then the Overlord does reign supreme and does stand to be deposed. That does not imply a connection between the KW and the Wilderlands, so much as it implies the popularity of the Wilderlands as a setting in 1983.

So so summarize I think he may have been just name-dropping. If the Overlord was commonly perceived in the community as the pinnacle of power (in any gameworld), Mentzer is saying that is no longer true.

Post Reply

Return to “Mystara”