The Pelinore setting and Mystara

"The World of Pelinore is flat - everyone knows that…"
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The Pelinore setting and Mystara

Post by LoZompatore » Tue May 27, 2008 3:52 pm

Thanks to a friend of mine at the Italian Message Board I managed to collect some info about the Pelinore setting.

Unlukily the info I got come just from 5 issues of Imagine Magazine (# 19, 21, 25, 26, 27). I tried hard to get also the missing supplements but I didn't manage to find them, so far. If anybody has some more info about the setting is really welcomed to add its contribution.

As you may know, Pelinore is a fantasy setting that used Classic D&D rules (the BECMI set, basically) that was developed in the firs middle of the '80s by Imagine Magazine, a fantasy magazine from UK owned by TSR. The setting was developed in a dozen of issues - with a significant amount of details, I must say - but it was then discarded by TSR, that also shut down the magazine.

Pelinore setting is mostly focused on the County of Cerwyn, a small medieval-like nation with a very beaurocratic administration and its capital city, the sprawling City League (so called because it is a league across). Some nearby places are also cited.

This map of the whole setting (I don't know if there are larger scale map) is found in Imagine Magazine #25:

Image
http://it.geocities.com/lutetius00/Mapp ... re_Map.JPG

Unluckily, the "Wilderness" areas actually represent other terrain types (mountains, steppes, hills and the like) from what can be deduced by reading the articles. So it is not very easy to have a definite map. Anyway, these are all the geographic info I've found:

- The whole wilderness in the east is actually a mountain chain, the Sarpath Mountains (as a reference, it is said that they begins about half a day riding east from Tellhalter).
- The town of Burghalter in the south is set in a mountain pass of the Sarphath Mountains, so the wilderness terrain should be hilly or mountainous.
- East of the Sarpath Mountains (off the map) there is a huge grassland, simply called "The Steppes". The steppes run at least from Darkmoor, near the coast, to Burghalter in the south and they were never crossed by the people of Cerwyn. As you may guess, the grasslands are inhabited by hostile nomadic horsemen tribes seeking a way to invade the County of Cerwyn and its sourroundings. Anyway, superstitions and religious taboos prevent the nomads to go west past the Red Finger, a geologic formation just soth-east of Burghalter. A legend says that the nomads would be able to invade Cerwyn when the sunset light would not shine on the Red Finger.
- East of Tellhalter there is a road leading to the Cirbell Pass, a major pass of the Sarpath Mountains. The road starts from Witchbold.
- There is a road connecting the City League with Abercornil, a foreign city east of Darkmoor (off the map). Darkmoor is built along that road.
- 10 miles south of Burghalter there is the dwarven free city of Vasarpath (off the map). The same Burghalter nucleus was built by dwarves and then sold to humans.
- Tellhalter is built on the hills, in a volcanic valley. It was an ancient fortress; now it is a free city, self-governed.
- In the mountains, somewhere near to the Cirbell Pass, there is the mytical City of the Wizards. Its precise location is unknown to the people of Cerwyn.
- Somewhere across the sea (off the map) there is the Merchantile City of Xir, a thriving slave market. Any citizen of Cerwyn who become a slave due to a justice court sentence is brought to the small port of Borth and then embarked to Xir, where it is sold in a public auction.
- It is cited another likely foreign city called Kosre, but its location is not stated.
- About monsters, we just know that the woods east of Darkmoor are inhabited by goblins, hobgoblins and gnolls. In the south, giants and an evil cult of rakhsasa raided and conquered the town of Burghalter in the past.


Luckily, most of the demographic info about the County are listed in the table below:

Image
http://it.geocities.com/lutetius00/Mapp ... cities.JPG

The info about the City League population is missing.

About the City League, the most detailed map I was able to find is this (no higher resolution available):

http://it.geocities.com/lutetius00/Mapp ... _Legue.JPG

The city is divided in Districts, it is the seat of the government and of the huge beaurocratic apparatus.
Each District has its own District Court, its Game Arena and provides to fund and organize its own Distric Militia (police - often corrupt).
The lord of the County of Cerwyn is called the Katar. The Katar is aided in the government by the Administrative Council, made by some ministries and other important people of the country.

The Katar is protected by a knightly order called the Knights Oculus. This mysterious order acts (independently but at Katar's service) both as a "secret police" of the country and as a corp of bodyguard for the Katar and its staff. As a secret police, the members of the Knights Oculus dress as commoners and report to guards and judges any crime they witness. The Knights have their own judge court (the Court of the Ten Thousand Crows), wery swift in pass judjments. The order is almost as ancient as the City League and it is governed by the Master, a mysterious figure who is said to be immortal. It is also said that the order is very rich.
The Court of the Ten Thousand Crows is the only civilian court that may issue death sentences (death sentences may be issued also by religious courts, see below). The court is so called because it is alwas sourrounded by crows (some hundreds of them, not really ten thousands) who cover the building with guanus. Death sentences are few, but it is said that the souls of those who die are reincarnated inside the bodies of the crows.
It was the Knight Oculus who discovered and neutralized the last plot to overthrow the government and the Katar. The attempt was made by the Jade Serpent Cabal, a group of 9 wizards of level 10-15 who were all arrested or dead within two hours from the beginning of the plot.

One of the most odd laws of the County of Cerwyn is the rule that any Edict issued by the Katar cannot be repealled anymore in the future. For this reason the law system of Cerwyn encompass many hundreds Edicts and many thousands (over 30'000) Collateral Laws (laws issued by the government) that try to specify and refine the previous legal system. This is the main cause of the huge (and often inefficient) bureucratic apparatus of the country.

Many gods are revered in Cerwyn. The whole list is showed below:

Image
http://it.geocities.com/lutetius00/Mapp ... e_Gods.JPG

Five of these gods (I don't know who are them) keep also a Religious Court in the City League. Religious Courts may only judge for the crime of blasphemy, but the definition of "blasphemy" is so loose that often many innocent people were sentenced to death, especially during periods of conflict between religions. It is said that most of the death sentences of the country are due to the Religious Courts. The most notorius of these courts is the so called "Temple Without Doors" where the death sentenced is dropped from the top of a tower to the ground below. The other Religious Courts prefer the "ordeal" system: the death sentenced is dropped, naked, in the District Arena where he will confront three monsters in sequence, more and more dangerous each time. If he survives he is fred from the death charge.

Gods not revered anymore are Mordrenn, an ancient god of love, and the bird-god Xnath-pi-Xnath, whose cult was declared extinct 300 years ago. Its main temple became the Court of the Ten Thousand Crows.

Lastly, some info about the other organizations of the City League:

Guilds: The city is full of Guilds, each of them seeking for profits and caring for its personal interests. Among them the Guilds of Merchants, of Thieves, of Banks, of Warriors, of Fishermens, of Moneychangers. Most of them fund their own Guild Militias. The Bank and Moneychangers Guilds have the biggest militias of the country made of more than 1000 men each.

The Puntillio: This organization is another police corp of the city, actually acting more as a military than a police. It is under the direct control of the Katar, its members are well trained and well equipped (it is said that the Puntillians - as they call themselves - are better equipped than most of the neighbouring countries' armies). Their leader is a knight who swore eternal loyalty to the Katar. Nevertheless, in the past there have been two failed attempts from the Puntillio to seize power in the contry and create a militar dictatorship. Since then the Puntillians has lost part of their powers.

The Corps of Private Conduct: Another private police that is funded by some dozens of rich citizens of the City League. They act as bodyguards of these rich people.

The city has a main Arena who is founded personally by the Katar.


About the history of Cerwyn we just know that the Katar institution was estabilished some centuries ago (more than 300 years, because the temple of Xnath-pi-Xnath was closed by a Katar). Before this time we know that the lands of Cerwyn were part of a larger empire, called the Almete Empire. The city of Tellhalter was an ancient garrison of this empire guarding the Cirbell Pass. It was home of some 20'000 soldiers.
The Almete people revered Mordrenn and kept a cult called "Religion of Warriors and Death", now extinct.
We also know that the region of Burghalter was settled by dwarves 1283 years ago.

Finally, the last question: may Pelinore/Cerwyn be set on Mystara?

Honestly, I don't know. From a fluff point of wiev it is said that the Old Calendar of Cerwyn was made of 350 days, 50 of which were holidays. This Old Calendar was recently substituted by a New Calendar (of which I do not know anything) with a diminished number of holidays. As you know, Mystara has a calendar of 336 days.
Anyway, I did not find any info about the Pelinore setting being a flat world so, if we drop the Old Calendar issue, we may state to place the County of Cerwyn somewhere in Mystara. Notice, also, that the area shown in the general map is quite small (just some 3-4 24mi hexes) so it my be set virtually anywhere.

;)
Last edited by LoZompatore on Wed May 28, 2008 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Hugin » Tue May 27, 2008 4:35 pm

I remember there was a thread on this on the MMB a few years back. I was going to link to it, unfortunately the search function is malfunctioning and can't find it.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Tue May 27, 2008 7:16 pm

You sir are brilliant!

I have been searching for this stuff for ages. The closest I ever got were some maps and files made by Richard Tongue that I made available here: http://www.blackmoor.mystara.us/pelinoremaps.html

I was also a bit bummed by the rumours that this was supposed to be a flat world, but I dont know if this is official or not. As for the calendar, not every earth calendar had the same number of days so I dont see why some Mystaran cultures cannot have flawed calendars (though I will assume the Thyatian to be the most accurate one).

As you say, Pelinore can be located almost anywhere on Mystara. Assuming the compass in the map is corret, Pelinore will need a body of water to the north of Cerwyn though. The first thing that came to my mind was to locate it to the south of one of the lakes of central Brun. Either the Cradle or Health's Spring. The mountains are a bit of a problem, though I suppose they could be too low or not cover enough of an area to appear on the continental maps. In some previous discussions on the MMB it was suggested that this area might have people from old Blackmoor colonies who had survived the Great Rain of Fire. This could help explain a European-esque culture in this area. Or we could link them with Moorkroft somehow. (A breakaway culture from Moorkroft's civilization project).

I havent looked at the Gods yet, but I am sure some of them could be turned into identities of existing Immortals. Others could be of local origin. (A chaotic dwarf immortal...quite interesting!)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by LoZompatore » Wed May 28, 2008 11:02 am

I remember there was a thread on this on the MMB a few years back. I was going to link to it, unfortunately the search function is malfunctioning and can't find it.
Is it this? I found it with a cache research with google:
http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:Qy ... cd=4&gl=it
(if you cannot load the link, it should be the thread "A question about Imagine magazine" started (by me! :P) on February, 20th, 2006.)
Unluckily we didn't manage to find many setting info at that time. The only hint we got was the "flat world" info, which is not confirmed in the five Imagine issues I got. I don't know if it is specified in the missing issues.
have been searching for this stuff for ages. The closest I ever got were some maps and files made by Richard Tongue that I made available here: http://www.blackmoor.mystara.us/pelinoremaps.html
Me too. I knew about the maps you put in your website, but I never found anyone who was able to told me if they were similar to the official maps or not. Finding info in the web about this setting was really hard, as you know.
I don't know how this friend of mine went upont this five issues of Imagine magazine, but he did a great job. At least now we have some official material from which starting to speculate.

I like your location for Cerwyn and your argument about the calendar.
The mountains do not fit wery well, I admit it, but their height is not specified, so...
I was thinking also about placing Cerwyn in the southernmost tip of Pelatan Bay, just at the end of Pelatan Gulf. The Steppes would be the westernmost stretches of the Pelatan Plains. Anyway, I'm not very satisfied with this location, because if - as it seems - Cerwyn was the easternmost mark of the ancient Almete Empire, maybe we will need larger lands in the west for it to accomodate.

Other locations suggestions?

There are at least half a dozen Imagine magazine issues with Pelinore info still missing. I think the latest issues (# 28, 29, 30) would have the most interesting info, as in the first issues (from IM # 16 onwards) the setting was still developing without a "GAZ-like" approach.

Unluckily, until now I was not able to find the missing issues. :(

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by cab » Wed May 28, 2008 11:49 am

Which TSR UK authors were most closely associated with Pelinore? We could, perhaps, try to track them down.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Wed May 28, 2008 1:52 pm

cab wrote:Which TSR UK authors were most closely associated with Pelinore? We could, perhaps, try to track them down.

Very interesting!

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Thu May 29, 2008 7:38 pm

If located just south of the Cradle, could Pelinore be linked to the Dravish civilization? 8-)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by AllanP » Fri May 30, 2008 6:40 pm

The Pelinore setting was introduced in Imagine Magazine issue 16. Imagine was publishged by TSR Hobbies (UK) Ltd and edited by Keith Thoomson and Paul Cockburn.

Looking tgrough my archive of the magazine, I cannot find any credits indicating who actually devised the concept, but I suspect that Paul Cickburn was the major player in this,

Pelinore articles appeared from issue 16 to issue 30 inclusive and also in Imagine Magazine Special Edition number 1. Some of the contributions carried author by-lines - Pul Cockburn, Chris Felton, Tom Kirby, Paul Emsley, Brian Garrod and Linda Moore.

The suggestion that Pelinore might be a flat world was probably a mistaken interpretation of the world map that appeared in Imagine issue 21. The map is drawn looking down on the north pole with the whole globe expanded around that point. (I'm sure a cartographer would be able to give the correct technical term for that form pof globe projection.)

Imagine ceased publication with issue 30 (Sept 1985) due to changes and managerial decisions at the parent company, TSR Inc. However, an indeoendent publication arose. Gamemaster Publications began a bi-monthly magazine which featured one large D&D module with accopmpanying articles, including more installments about Pelinore.This publication was edited by Paul Cockburn. Contributors to the Pelinoreseries included Wendy Rose and Bryan James. Gamemaster managed 4 issues between October 1985 and June 1986, and a final fifth issue dated Febnruary 1987. I am unaware if Pelinore appeared again.

The Pelinore campaign articles were interesting, largely focussing on individual buildings and their inhabitants in The City League (Pelinore's equivalent of Greyhawk, Specularum or Waterdeep), but while this low level was good, it seemed to lack the depth of Mystara - perhaps I was spoilt by the Gazetteers and 'Voyage of the Princess Ark'?
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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Fri May 30, 2008 7:19 pm

Wow, interesting information there Allan! Thanks for sharing. Now I would really like to see that world map you speak of...

BTW: Welcome to the Piazza! :)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by AllanP » Fri May 30, 2008 8:43 pm

I'll see if I can do a decent scan of the Pelinore world map when I get a free moment.

Looking forward to seeing this forum become the place for Mystara discussion.
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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Gawain_VIII » Fri May 30, 2008 8:58 pm

I'm not sure where Pellinore would fit... I'd be a little hesitant in placing such an advanced culture so far from the major civilizations... and it certainly wouldn't fit on the map any closer...

But the concept--very Arthurian, I think would mesh well with the celtic IoDawn theme... especially post-WotI. Natives fighting to resist against the opressive Empire... when the empire leaves, there is a void of law, the whole region turns into a wasteland as petty warlords fight for dominance--until a single leader unites against a new outside enemy (possibly the Thyatians trying to re-claim lands lost during the war?)...

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by AllanP » Sat May 31, 2008 10:15 am

Found some time to scan in the Pelinore world map from Imagine Magazine #23
Hope I've got things right - not used this system nefore...

Image

A full size scan can be found here
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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by cab » Sat May 31, 2008 2:01 pm


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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Andaire » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:16 pm

What if the order of the Knights Oculus, which is led by the Master, a mysterious figure said to be immortal, is actually led by the Master of Hule, not directly of course but through proxies? He uses it to keep an eye on Cerwyn, an independent and remote place that is not directly under the rulership of Hule but that, as many other such places, the Master likes to keep under his influence.
Wouldn't that fit well with the ideas about Moorkroft and the extinct Dravish?
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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:00 am

Andaire wrote:What if the order of the Knights Oculus, which is led by the Master, a mysterious figure said to be immortal, is actually led by the Master of Hule, not directly of course but through proxies? He uses it to keep an eye on Cerwyn, an independent and remote place that is not directly under the rulership of Hule but that, as many other such places, the Master likes to keep under his influence.
Wouldn't that fit well with the ideas about Moorkroft and the extinct Dravish?
That is a pretty interesting idea Andaire! I will have to look more closely into its implications.

BTW: Thanks for the map AllanP! 8-)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by happylarry » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:49 pm

Just had a look through some old imagine magazines (only 1, 3, 4, 21 and 29 sadly) and GM4 (June 1986)

21 contains the arena (area 21), 29 Monument square (areas 36-45) and GM4 The Old Wharf (areas 75-78) - so presumably Pelinore was revisited in Gm1-3 as well (unless 46-74 were covered in issue 30!)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by philgyford » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:10 pm

Sorry to jump into an old topic like this, but I thought you might like to know I just found my stash of Pelinore pages, snipped from 'Imagine'. Because it looked like there were people here who'd like a copy, I scanned them in as a PDF. Feel free to download it from here.

It's not 100% complete but I don't think there's much missing. I hope you find it useful.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:15 pm

Hi philgyford!

That's nifty! Welcome to the Piazza :)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by galliard » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:24 am

It does not appear that Pelinore was ever successfully placed in Mystara... on either thread. Too bad. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by AllanP » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:09 am

Hi philgyford!

Thanks for putting the time and effort into scanning in those Pelinore articles.
I'll have a look through my collection of Imagine Magazine and see if I have any of the "missing sections".
I particularly liked the maps in the Pelinore installments especially where, as well as plan views pf street areas, they also showed elevations of the buildings. I think that approach adds much atmosphere to a setting.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Hugin » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:30 pm

Thanks for all that effort, Phil! And welcome to The Piazza.

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:45 pm

galliard wrote:It does not appear that Pelinore was ever successfully placed in Mystara... on either thread. Too bad. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
Maybe. I don't really think anyone has taken the time and effort to do a proper job of trying to place it on Mystara yet. My impression so far is that it cannot be done while staying 100% true to Pelinore, but the question remains if it is possible to make a few tweaks without seriously affecting the setting. If so I think the ideas presented so far about locating Pelinore near the center of Brun and linking its origins to an ancient Blackmoor colony might have some merit....

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by maddog » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:13 am

Gawain_VIII wrote:I'm not sure where Pellinore would fit... I'd be a little hesitant in placing such an advanced culture so far from the major civilizations... and it certainly wouldn't fit on the map any closer...

But the concept--very Arthurian, I think would mesh well with the celtic IoDawn theme... especially post-WotI. Natives fighting to resist against the oppressive Empire... when the empire leaves, there is a void of law, the whole region turns into a wasteland as petty warlords fight for dominance--until a single leader unites against a new outside enemy (possibly the Thyatians trying to re-claim lands lost during the war?)...
But then again, we can fit almost anything in Mystara! What about Norwold? Both Alphatia and Thyatis have interests in the region but neither really take any action. It's a big area. Perhaps with some work Pelinore could fit into it. We just have to remember that these are very large regions and the canon left them very open. Maybe we can make something work here. :)

Note: I have no knowledge of the Pelinore setting but truly believe we can find a place for it in Mystara. :)

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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by Havard » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:07 pm

maddog wrote:But then again, we can fit almost anything in Mystara! What about Norwold? Both Alphatia and Thyatis have interests in the region but neither really take any action. It's a big area. Perhaps with some work Pelinore could fit into it. We just have to remember that these are very large regions and the canon left them very open. Maybe we can make something work here. :)

Note: I have no knowledge of the Pelinore setting but truly believe we can find a place for it in Mystara. :)
As with you I need to read up on Pelinore myself. But I like your attitude Ray! :)
One thing to consider is; how important is it to preserve the parts of Pelinore that do not mesh so well with Mystara? One thing that is particularly problematic is the fact that Pelinore is flat. Ofcourse, this could be dismissed as being the world view of the Pelinorans rather than the truth. I bet many Mystarans also believe that the world is flat. Another problem, now that we have the world map of Pelinore is how do we deal with that. Ofcourse the setting material only describes a small part of that world so perhaps ignoring the rest won't be too problematic.

The fact that Pelinore was created for Classic D&D does IMO suggest that we should find some place for it. Some have suggested making it an outer plane or planet, so that the flatworld aspect can be preserved. The problem I see with that is that it would become much less relevant.

Here's one sollution: How about making it both a plane/planet and a region of Mystara? The discussion about the Diaboli Dominion of Redhorn in Norwold made me think about how all of these planes and dimensions seem a bit useless since they so rarely find their way into ones campaign. Having the Diaboli set up a dominion on Mystara does help make that race useful in any DM's campaign. The same thing can be done with Pelinore. We can have one plane where Pelinore exists in its full version, but perhaps some Pelinorans have escaped from that world and emigrated to Mystara? Or perhaps it is the other way around and that Pelinorans actually hail from Mystara, leaving some behind to guard the gates to that world.

Looking at the map of the Dominions, a small area on the southern shore of a lake or sea is detailed. This does limit our locations for such a region on Mystara somewhat. I would suggest we keep it away from the more detailed regions like the Isle of Dawn since that would only let us make use of fragments of the setting, whereas placing it a less detailed part of Mystara would allow us to employ more of the setting. One idea would be to place Pelinore south of one of the lakes of central Brun.

Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
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happylarry
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Re: The pelinore setting

Post by happylarry » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:38 pm

thanks for the download - good to see this stuff again!

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