Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Chimpman » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:04 pm

Hi Bruce,

I have some questions about you blog articles on Stoutfellow. First let me say that I'm really enjoying your work (and the maps are beautiful!)

1) In Lower Stoutfellow you have a key that details some of the major areas in the underworld. Do you have any descriptions for the features/settlements that are shown on the above ground map?

2) I've read a couple of statements in the articles referencing "centuries of work" by the dwarves, but didn't Rockhome colonize the place circa AC 950 (giving only 50 to 70 years of occupation - depending on the timeline you're using)? How do you reconcile this? Is it possible that the dwarven "colonists" from Rockhome were not the founders of the country, and that it has existed for longer that 50 - 70 years?

If the Rockhome dwarves are simply "sharing" Stoutfellow with much older residents, then that might give use some good opportunities for political intrigue and conflict within the nation of Stoutfellow itself.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:29 pm

Chimpman wrote:Hi Bruce,

I have some questions about you blog articles on Stoutfellow. First let me say that I'm really enjoying your work (and the maps are beautiful!)

1) In Lower Stoutfellow you have a key that details some of the major areas in the underworld. Do you have any descriptions for the features/settlements that are shown on the above ground map?


I plan on revisiting some of the older posts to flesh them out. I was more concerned, when I started the mapping process, about getting the maps right. As a result, the earlier posts provide very little written material.

2) I've read a couple of statements in the articles referencing "centuries of work" by the dwarves, but didn't Rockhome colonize the place circa AC 950 (giving only 50 to 70 years of occupation - depending on the timeline you're using)? How do you reconcile this? Is it possible that the dwarven "colonists" from Rockhome were not the founders of the country, and that it has existed for longer that 50 - 70 years?

If the Rockhome dwarves are simply "sharing" Stoutfellow with much older residents, then that might give use some good opportunities for political intrigue and conflict within the nation of Stoutfellow itself.


The latter makes more sense. Dwarves are dwarves -- whether Rockhome-related or Stoutfellows. To which articles were you referring anyway?
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Chimpman » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:24 pm

Ambreville wrote:The latter makes more sense. Dwarves are dwarves -- whether Rockhome-related or Stoutfellows. To which articles were you referring anyway?

Sorry, I meant your blog articles. Let me see if I can find the actual references again.

From Lower Stoutfellow -- Alphatia's Underworld
...
The Grand Vault of Bar-Zaram:
Over the centuries, Stoutfellows carved a precarious ledge along the east wall just large enough for the Dragon Express to reach the other side.
...
Duerhold:
Its central stone pillar housed Zul-Barad, a city that rivaled with Denwarf-Hurgon in more ancient times.
...
Fangholm:
Like Duerhod, this cavern once boasted a pillar-city, which was destroyed by a feat of mysterious magic. No one knows for sure what really happened, but many whisper among themselves the ancient sigils for Shadow Deep.

From Denwarf-Hurgon, Pillar of Alphatia
...
Such facilities took many centuries to build and clearly qualify as one of the world wonders of Mystara.
...

The entry for Bar-Zaram and Denwarf-Hurgon explicitly states "centuries", while the others only imply a much longer history than the 50 to 70 years since the supposed Rockhome colonization (IIRC from Dawn of the Emperors).

The presence of Shadow Dwarves in Shadow Deep, might also suggest a much longer period of occupation of the Stoutfellow region by dwarves (longer perhaps than even the dwarves themselves remember). Could these Shadow Dwarves be remnants of a dwarven population that existed before Kagyar modified their race? If so, then dwarves (of one type or another) could have inhabited Stoutfellow for more than 3000 years.

I've also been thinking that perhaps the "AC 950 colonization" of Stoutfellow by Rockhome dwarves was not the actual inception of that nation. Perhaps Rockhome has been sending "settlers" to the area for quite some time. We know that the dwarves went through an expansionist period circa BC 1000 (when they conquered portions of the Shires), so maybe they struck out to the east as well. Since that time the two dwarven nations could have maintained cordial relations, with Stoutfellow opening up "new territories" to any Rockhome dwarves who wished to take on the challenge. In this case the AC 950 "colonization" might simply have been a sort of dwarven "gold rush" from Rockhome to reputedly more lucrative areas.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:28 pm

Bar-Zaram -- Stoutfellow could be a clan related to Rockhome dwarves. They just got there earlier than recorded.
Duerhold & Fangholm -- when I incorporated these, I was thinking that they'd been constructed by other races (predating the current occupiers.)

I'd say earlier clans from Rockhome had been showing up in the area for a long time, progressively pushing back the Shadow Dwarves. It would be logical to conclude a passage exists (or least existed) somewhere, connecting Alphatia to Rockhome. I don't see many dwarves migrating across the seas.

It would be an "epic" journey across an unknown and seemingly endless tunnel beneath the Isle of Dawn and the seas. Since then, perhaps the tunnel got flooded, collapsed, or was "diverted" by the Shadow Dwarves. Sure, there should be good relations between Rockhome and Stoutfellow dwarves (as well between Five Shire and Stoutfellow halflings.)

The Shadow Dwarves might have reached the caverns of Alphatia at about the same way Rockhome dwarves did ...

...and it implies the source tribe might be even more important than its Alphatian offshoot. I was thinking that these dwarves might have been altered over time by magic run amok on the surface (Geoff Gander's Orzafeth, which is planned as a potential development for Frisland.) Orzafeth's chronology might not be suitable though. More later on this.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Chimpman » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:12 pm

Ambreville wrote:Bar-Zaram -- Stoutfellow could be a clan related to Rockhome dwarves. They just got there earlier than recorded.
Duerhold & Fangholm -- when I incorporated these, I was thinking that they'd been constructed by other races (predating the current occupiers.)

This was the thing that was confusing me. Based on DotE wouldn't all "Stoutfellow" dwarves just be recent Rockhome immigrants? Regardless, I think I like the way you're envisioning the kingdom better than the way DotE does. A longer history for the nation allows us to do a lot more with it. Otherwise it has to become a pretty sparse and barren place (at least with regard to inhabitants).

Ambreville wrote:I'd say earlier clans from Rockhome had been showing up in the area for a long time, progressively pushing back the Shadow Dwarves. It would be logical to conclude a passage exists (or least existed) somewhere, connecting Alphatia to Rockhome. I don't see many dwarves migrating across the seas.

There are other possibilities as well. Consider the Steam powered Planar Transport (or whatever it was called) from Gaz 6. If the areas of Rockhome and Stoutfellow were actually ancient dwarven settlements (back in Blackmoorian times) then perhaps there is some fantastic artifact that connects the two realsm (and possibly others). For lack of a better term, these "Dwarf Gates" could allow easy travel between the two realms... as long as they operate correctly. Getting them to work right could be a major undertaking, which might explain why constant travel is not feasible.

Ambreville wrote:It would be an "epic" journey across an unknown and seemingly endless tunnel beneath the Isle of Dawn and the seas. Since then, perhaps the tunnel got flooded, collapsed, or was "diverted" by the Shadow Dwarves. Sure, there should be good relations between Rockhome and Stoutfellow dwarves (as well between Five Shire and Stoutfellow halflings.)

Having caverns between the two realms is also possible. IIRC wasn't there a mention in Gaz13 that the Shadow Elves had tunnels leading to Alphatia? If so then we may be talking about the same routes here. This also brings in another possible threat to Denwarf-Hurgon - the Shadow Elves themselves.

Ambreville wrote:The Shadow Dwarves might have reached the caverns of Alphatia at about the same way Rockhome dwarves did ...

Or (again if Denwarf-Hurgon was a Blackmoorian era settlement) it could mean that the Shadow Dwarves were there all along.
Or they might be an offshoot of the Mordrigswerg (one that is a tad bit more social and capable of building a fairly strong society).

Ambreville wrote:...and it implies the source tribe might be even more important than its Alphatian offshoot. I was thinking that these dwarves might have been altered over time by magic run amok on the surface (Geoff Gander's Orzafeth, which is planned as a potential development for Frisland.) Orzafeth's chronology might not be suitable though. More later on this.

I agree. Exploring who and what the Shadow Dwarves are could form the basis for a complete campaign. I like the idea that they are more magically inclined than normal dwarves, and they somehow over the centuries this has twisted them into something not completely dwarven anymore. :twisted:

Thanks for responding Bruce! This whole conversation has sparked all kinds of new ideas in my head :cool:

Switching tracks, you blog work is amazing. I'm really impressed at how proficient you've become at making maps (and filling them out with interesting locations). I was so excited by these last night that I spent some amount of time trying to piece them all together. I can't wait to add more pieces... and I'm amazed at how large Alpahtia is (and how much more work is left)!
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:42 pm

Chimpman wrote:Exploring who and what the Shadow Dwarves are could form the basis for a complete campaign. I like the idea that they are more magically inclined than normal dwarves, and they somehow over the centuries this has twisted them into something not completely dwarven anymore. :twisted:

Thanks for responding Bruce! This whole conversation has sparked all kinds of new ideas in my head :cool:

Switching tracks, you blog work is amazing. I'm really impressed at how proficient you've become at making maps (and filling them out with interesting locations). I was so excited by these last night that I spent some amount of time trying to piece them all together. I can't wait to add more pieces... and I'm amazed at how large Alpahtia is (and how much more work is left)!


Yes, Shadow Dwarves are definitely no longer quite dwarven and definitely more arcane. Nastier fellows too, for as-of-yet-unknown reasons. I'm glad you're having fun with the maps. Be aware that I'm still futzing with some of them. My original Ambur map will require corrections. Much of the changes elsewhere have to do with updating sections of the maps that overlap.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Havard » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:20 pm

Ambreville wrote:Yes, Shadow Dwarves are definitely no longer quite dwarven and definitely more arcane. Nastier fellows too, for as-of-yet-unknown reasons.


Fascinating!
James Mishler wrote this pretty interesting History about the Isle of Dawn, where he goes into some detail on the fate of the Dwarven Race after the GRoF. Basically his concept is that with the radiation from the GRoF, the dwarven race was infected with some wasting disease, that the dwarves needed Kagyar to save them from.

Are these Shadowelves a part of the elder dwarven race that somehow escaped the dreads of the GRoF, or are they related to the Morigsverg of the Northern Reaches? Or both?

Would love to hear more about this! :)

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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:31 pm

Havard wrote:Are these Shadowelves a part of the elder dwarven race that somehow escaped the dreads of the GRoF, or are they related to the Morigsverg of the Northern Reaches? Or both?


You meant Shadow Dwarves, yes? I kept that issue "up in the air" for anyone to create their own version/campaign stories. I can play with this, but it'll have to be at another time.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Seer of Yhog » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:58 pm

Ambreville wrote:...and it implies the source tribe might be even more important than its Alphatian offshoot. I was thinking that these dwarves might have been altered over time by magic run amok on the surface (Geoff Gander's Orzafeth, which is planned as a potential development for Frisland.) Orzafeth's chronology might not be suitable though. More later on this.


There may be a possible crossover. The wizards of Orzafeth did their deeds relatively recently (i.e., within the past 1000 years), but there were other people living in that region before, whom the Yanifey tried to keep down for a variety of good reasons. That part of Alphatia has been soaking up some unsavoury magics for a while. Can't say any more. :twisted:
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Havard » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:34 pm

Hi Bruce,
I am enjoying your GenCon reports part 1 and part 2. One paragraph caught my attention:

I went on to tell Troy about my plans for Mystara. I definitely have support here. Alas, none of what was said can be related now.


Perhaps you could reveal something more on this...? :mrgreen:

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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Azure Admiral » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:30 pm

Havard wrote:Hi Bruce,
I am enjoying your GenCon reports part 1 and part 2. One paragraph caught my attention:

I went on to tell Troy about my plans for Mystara. I definitely have support here. Alas, none of what was said can be related now.


Perhaps you could reveal something more on this...? :mrgreen:

-Havard




Will follow with great interest this! :cool:

Thank you Bruce for getting again into the wonderful world of Mystara!


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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:40 pm

You're welcome, Bone. And no, Havard, I can't relate now the discussion I had about Mystara. But you guys will be first to know if the plan works out. It make take quite some time though. Sorry.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Thorf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:48 am

Ambreville wrote:You're welcome, Bone. And no, Havard, I can't relate now the discussion I had about Mystara. But you guys will be first to know if the plan works out. It make take quite some time though. Sorry.


If anything, Bruce, us Mystara fans are known for our patience. You simply can't be a fan of an out of print campaign setting without it! :mrgreen:

Which is not to say we won't keep trying to pry hints from you when you least expect it... :twisted:
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Hi Bruce: Unique question

Postby MPA » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:32 pm

Could you give us your opinion on the Immortal character class? It doesn't matter if it pertains to the Classic or revised Wrath of the Immortals editions.

What's your opinion on how they relate to Gods?

Had you been asked to revise/create them what would you have done differently if anything?

If you were motivated, what kind(s) adventure/campaigns would you likely create?
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Big Mac » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:36 pm

BoneLord wrote:
Havard wrote:Hi Bruce,
I am enjoying your GenCon reports part 1 and part 2. One paragraph caught my attention:

I went on to tell Troy about my plans for Mystara. I definitely have support here. Alas, none of what was said can be related now.


Perhaps you could reveal something more on this...? :mrgreen:


Will follow with great interest this! :cool:

Thank you Bruce for getting again into the wonderful world of Mystara!

Bone


I'm sure a lot of us will be following this with interest.

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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby MPA » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:33 pm

Hm, He hasn't been back. I was hoping to get answer.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:59 pm

MPA wrote:Hm, He hasn't been back. I was hoping to get answer.


Sorry, I managed to miss your post... (...)
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Re: Hi Bruce: Unique question

Postby Ambreville » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:07 pm

MPA wrote:Could you give us your opinion on the Immortal character class? It doesn't matter if it pertains to the Classic or revised Wrath of the Immortals editions.

What's your opinion on how they relate to Gods?

Had you been asked to revise/create them what would you have done differently if anything?

If you were motivated, what kind(s) adventure/campaigns would you likely create?


Relating to Gods -- they don't. There are no gods in the Mystara-verse (so far). Immortals are superpowerful adventurers who manage to draw power from mortals who honor them. It doesn't quite make them gods. The definition of "gods" is too abstract anyway to answer this question.

If Asked to Revise -- they're fine the way they are. If anything I would have added more practical and philosophical detail for use with normal player characters (followers and clerics/druids).

Adventures -- Do you mean adventures with players running Immortals?
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Re: Hi Bruce: Unique question

Postby MPA » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:07 am

Ambreville wrote:
MPA wrote:Could you give us your opinion on the Immortal character class? It doesn't matter if it pertains to the Classic or revised Wrath of the Immortals editions.

What's your opinion on how they relate to Gods?

Had you been asked to revise/create them what would you have done differently if anything?

If you were motivated, what kind(s) adventure/campaigns would you likely create?


Relating to Gods -- they don't. There are no gods in the Mystara-verse (so far). Immortals are superpowerful adventurers who manage to draw power from mortals who honor them. It doesn't quite make them gods. The definition of "gods" is too abstract anyway to answer this question.

If Asked to Revise -- they're fine the way they are. If anything I would have added more practical and philosophical detail for use with normal player characters (followers and clerics/druids).

Adventures -- Do you mean adventures with players running Immortals?


Thanks for the reply Bruce! Yes I was meaning immortal adventures only.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:41 am

I'd send them on outer planar adventures since they're not supposed to meddle with mortals. One good use of these types of characters is to tailor adventures in such a way that they could stand to lose mortal followers. Their task is to recover them and repair damage caused among assets belonging to their spheres of interest. I'd make them responsible for protecting that from which they came. Another type of adventure is to adjust the encounter sites so that everything is scaled to their abilities. Actually -- this requires a setting just as detailed as Mystara, but adapted for immortals.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby MPA » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:58 am

Ambreville wrote:I'd send them on outer planar adventures since they're not supposed to meddle with mortals. One good use of these types of characters is to tailor adventures in such a way that they could stand to lose mortal followers. Their task is to recover them and repair damage caused among assets belonging to their spheres of interest. I'd make them responsible for protecting that from which they came. Another type of adventure is to adjust the encounter sites so that everything is scaled to their abilities. Actually -- this requires a setting just as detailed as Mystara, but adapted for immortals.


Thanks for your input! It is greatly appreciated. :D
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Isuru » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:41 pm

The Known Author: Interview with Bruce Heard, at Stargazer's World:
http://www.stargazersworld.com/2012/12/ ... uce-heard/

Probably nothing anyone here doesn't already know, but to a gamer like myself who never heard of Mystara until randomly encountering the name on the web, this was an extensive interview that offered a lot of insight on that era of setting publication and how that extends into gaming today.
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby MPA » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:43 am

Is Bruce still around?

Apparently no one else can answer this question without theories, but Bruce?

In the AD&D Monster Manuals, you gave the Arch Devils and Demon Princes Hit points instead of hit dice.

How are we supposed to know what HD to use for melee attacks and Saving Throws?
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Ambreville » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:34 am

MPA wrote:Is Bruce still around?


Yeah, sorry. I haven't keeled over yet. Trying the best I can though. I'll e-mail you if I kick the bucket already. ;)
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Re: Hi! (Bruce Heard Q&A)

Postby Knightfall » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:54 am

Bruce,

Have you ever considered a grand, unified Mystaran Underdark? If so, how would you connect it all?
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