[Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

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[Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:11 pm

Grim mentioned a campaign setting area, called Knacker-Knob (or Knacker Knob) in the Introduce yourself here topic.

I asked what Knacker-Knob was and Gravesguardian said it was part of the Dungeons & Dragons: The Dragon's Den boxed set and then gave some more detail:
Gravesguardian wrote:It was mentioned on the Wanted-Bold Adventurers! handout as well as in the 3 adventure modules. The Bailiff that hires the party is referred to as: Bailiff Wortley, Alderman of Knacker Knob. I believe that Knacker Knob is listed on the handout as a "fortified community of 5,000, populated mostly by refuges who have fled the harsh tryanny of the Black Prince." (That's taken from the Legend area of the handout- it's on the back of the Read This Sheet First! paper).
Oh & yes, that is the Dragon's Den boxset I was referring to.
How does Knacker-Knob, and the stuff from the three adventures fit into the Thunder Rift campaign setting?
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Havard » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:27 pm

As I just responded in the other thread, I believe Knacker-Knob is the setting of the Dragon's Den Boxed Set. It is surprising that Dragons Den doesnt reference any known location in Thunder Rift when all the other similar boxed sets in the series were placed there.

Upon closer inspection however, it was revealed that the Knacker-Knob setting was really just a carbon copy of Karameikos but with the names of kingdoms, cities and NPCs changed, yet easily recognizable.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:58 am

Havard wrote:As I just responded in the other thread, I believe Knacker-Knob is the setting of the Dragon's Den Boxed Set. It is surprising that Dragons Den doesnt reference any known location in Thunder Rift when all the other similar boxed sets in the series were placed there.
I thought I'd move the discussion out of the "hello" thread, so that fans of Knacker-Knob might be able to find it. I should have dropped a link back there. :)

EDIT: Link to this topic crossposed to previous topic.
Havard wrote:Upon closer inspection however, it was revealed that the Knacker-Knob setting was really just a carbon copy of Karameikos but with the names of kingdoms, cities and NPCs changed, yet easily recognizable.
Now that's interesting.

Do you think that Knacker-Knob is a reboot of Karameikos? Or do you think it represents an earlier or later point in the timeline?

How much effort would be required to create a Knacker-Knob-to-Karameikos conversion table, so that the boxed set adventures could be run in Karameikos?
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Sturm » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:22 pm

The area is geographically and thematically similar to the western area of Karameikos, Luln and the Black Eagle Barony in particular, in 1000 AC. So the box could be easily played with Luln as Knacker-Knob.
You do not really need any conversion table, even the map of the region is extremely similar (there is a swamp, forests, mountains to the north, a nation of halfling to the west). The Black Eagle Baron is The Black Prince in the box, but is still the cousin of the King (that would be Grand Duke Stephan in 1000 AC Karameikos). The bailiff of Knacker-Knob could be substituted with Lady Sasha of Luln.
Why on Earth they just did not use Karameikos as it was escapes my understanding.
They lost customers for certain, me for example, as at the time I did not buy the box because I thought it had no relation with Mystara.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Gravesguardian » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:36 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:Upon closer inspection however, it was revealed that the Knacker-Knob setting was really just a carbon copy of Karameikos but with the names of kingdoms, cities and NPCs changed, yet easily recognizable.
Now that's interesting.

Do you think that Knacker-Knob is a reboot of Karameikos? Or do you think it represents an earlier or later point in the timeline?

How much effort would be required to create a Knacker-Knob-to-Karameikos conversion table, so that the boxed set adventures could be run in Karameikos?
More than likely what happened was that when the Dragon's Den was started they planned to set it on Mystara in Karameikos; but, then they got told to make it "setting neutral" & rather than make a new map, they renamed everything. I believe that was around the time TSR was trying to get everyone to 2nd ed. & either Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms; but, my memory ain't what it use to be so hopefully someone who worked on it can speak up & set the record straight.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Havard » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:12 pm

Gravesguardian wrote:More than likely what happened was that when the Dragon's Den was started they planned to set it on Mystara in Karameikos; but, then they got told to make it "setting neutral" & rather than make a new map, they renamed everything.
I think this seems likely too. Most of these products came out in 1992, the same year that Thunder Rift was released. Dragons Den might have been completed before Colin McComb was able to finalize the Thunder Rift setting, so it is possible that the decision was made for them to move Dragons Den out of Karameikos, but did not have the Thunder Rift ready as a replacement yet.
I believe that was around the time TSR was trying to get everyone to 2nd ed. & either Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms; but, my memory ain't what it use to be so hopefully someone who worked on it can speak up & set the record straight.
I think the TSR push to make the Forgotten Realms their only setting happened a few years later. I think this might be more related to the concept dividing Classic D&D into a Challenger Line and whatever the Black Box Line was called. I think they wanted to keep Mystara proper more tied to the RC and the Challenger modules, while everything tied to the Black Box should have the setting elements downplayed just to make things easier on new players. I am just speculating here too though. :)

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:56 pm

Sturm wrote:The area is geographically and thematically similar to the western area of Karameikos, Luln and the Black Eagle Barony in particular, in 1000 AC. So the box could be easily played with Luln as Knacker-Knob.
You do not really need any conversion table, even the map of the region is extremely similar (there is a swamp, forests, mountains to the north, a nation of halfling to the west). The Black Eagle Baron is The Black Prince in the box, but is still the cousin of the King (that would be Grand Duke Stephan in 1000 AC Karameikos). The bailiff of Knacker-Knob could be substituted with Lady Sasha of Luln.
Thanks for that overview.
Sturm wrote:Why on Earth they just did not use Karameikos as it was escapes my understanding.
It does seem a bit bonkers to me! :lol:
Sturm wrote:They lost customers for certain, me for example, as at the time I did not buy the box because I thought it had no relation with Mystara.
I suppose they might have been worried that people might think that they couldn't cope with a one-off product that ties-in to a bunch of Mystara products. I get the feeling that is what they are doing with 5th Edition Forgotten Realms stuff (passing it off as generic). But, to be honest, I wouldn't have known what Karameikos was back then. They could have done a boxed set based around Karameikos, with the box acting like a "quick start" to the area.

(I actually think that Karameikos would be an OK area to use for a 5th Edition product that showcased the Mystara campaign setting. I think they could trawl through the entire Mystara canon - for that region - come up with an interesting collection of themes and build something new that would work fine for someone that knew nothing about Mystara...but that could also work fine for someone who wanted to add to their existing Mystara campaign.)
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:59 pm

Gravesguardian wrote:More than likely what happened was that when the Dragon's Den was started they planned to set it on Mystara in Karameikos; but, then they got told to make it "setting neutral" & rather than make a new map, they renamed everything. I believe that was around the time TSR was trying to get everyone to 2nd ed. & either Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms; but, my memory ain't what it use to be so hopefully someone who worked on it can speak up & set the record straight.
I wonder if it was anything like, Malatra: The Living Jungle, where they used a bunch of existing D&D monsters, but changed all the names. :?
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:08 am

Havard wrote:
Gravesguardian wrote:More than likely what happened was that when the Dragon's Den was started they planned to set it on Mystara in Karameikos; but, then they got told to make it "setting neutral" & rather than make a new map, they renamed everything.
I think this seems likely too. Most of these products came out in 1992, the same year that Thunder Rift was released. Dragons Den might have been completed before Colin McComb was able to finalize the Thunder Rift setting, so it is possible that the decision was made for them to move Dragons Den out of Karameikos, but did not have the Thunder Rift ready as a replacement yet.
Did Colin McComb have anything to do with this board game?

Do you think that Thunder Rift was inspired by Dragons Den?

Do you think that Colin McComb was trying to "restore" this new setting to Mystara?

Do you think that the later Thunder Rift products were a way to "file the serial numbers off of Mystara" but still create products that can dovetail with existing Mystara products?
Havard wrote:
Gravesguardian wrote:I believe that was around the time TSR was trying to get everyone to 2nd ed. & either Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms; but, my memory ain't what it use to be so hopefully someone who worked on it can speak up & set the record straight.
I think the TSR push to make the Forgotten Realms their only setting happened a few years later. I think this might be more related to the concept dividing Classic D&D into a Challenger Line and whatever the Black Box Line was called. I think they wanted to keep Mystara proper more tied to the RC and the Challenger modules, while everything tied to the Black Box should have the setting elements downplayed just to make things easier on new players. I am just speculating here too though. :)
Does that mean that there is a line of "Mystara-lite" products, around that time, that are designed to work better for people who have never played the setting?
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:09 am

Big Mac wrote:Does that mean that there is a line of "Mystara-lite" products, around that time, that are designed to work better for people who have never played the setting?
Well since Escape from Thunder Rift dumps your party in Karameikos (sp?) I think they intended TR to help ease people into the Mystara setting.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:16 pm

Gravesguardian wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Does that mean that there is a line of "Mystara-lite" products, around that time, that are designed to work better for people who have never played the setting?
Well since Escape from Thunder Rift dumps your party in Karameikos (sp?) I think they intended TR to help ease people into the Mystara setting.
Thanks. I didn't know that.

So would I have Thunder Rift and then a line of "Mystara-lite" products, to follow that up?

Or is Thunder Rift itself meant to be "Mystara-lite"?

Is it possible for people to use Escape from Thunder Rift to dump their party into the Knacker-Knob setting instead? Would that make for a closed TR/KK setting that works in isolation from Mystara and the Known World? :?
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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Sturm » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:55 pm

Big Mac wrote: I suppose they might have been worried that people might think that they couldn't cope with a one-off product that ties-in to a bunch of Mystara products.
Probably, but I think this was bad reasoning and bad marketing. I would have bought more products if they were explicitly related to Mystara in all editions. You can make a product which is compatible with several settings and can also be used as generic with very little effort.

Thunder Rift was meant to be a secluded area, with the idea it could be easier to master for a young unexperienced DM. I did not buy much of it because it was too generic for me, so I believe a better connection to Mystara would have worked better.
You can drop Thunder Rift anywhere, in theory, but it is still a very european/medieval/classic D&D kind of setting, so it can work only where you could have this kind of culture, and so IMHO is a bit ankward to place it in Mystara because it hurts my suspension of disbelief:
- to have a big isolated valley in the relatively well mapped Known World
- to have an european-like valley in other lands which do not have this culture as the dominant one.

Still Thunder Rift is too small to be used as a whole setting, unless you just play the canon modules and end it there.

I never used it so far but should I do it, I would probably place it somewhere in Brun and modify a bit the local cultures to make them a bit less generic fantasy.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:35 pm

Sturm wrote:You can drop Thunder Rift anywhere, in theory, but it is still a very european/medieval/classic D&D kind of setting, so it can work only where you could have this kind of culture, and so IMHO is a bit ankward to place it in Mystara because it hurts my suspension of disbelief:
- to have a big isolated valley in the relatively well mapped Known World
- to have an european-like valley in other lands which do not have this culture as the dominant one.
#1: The Known World is hollow w/ lost civilizations hidden inside it.
#2: A moon w/ a city full of Immortals.
#3: An invisible second moon.
#4: The lost valley of the Hutaakan in Karameikos.

And none of these suspend your disbelief? That's just some examples to show it isn't hard for a valley like TR to exist in the well known areas of Mystara.

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:44 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Gravesguardian wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Does that mean that there is a line of "Mystara-lite" products, around that time, that are designed to work better for people who have never played the setting?
Well since Escape from Thunder Rift dumps your party in Karameikos (sp?) I think they intended TR to help ease people into the Mystara setting.
Thanks. I didn't know that.

So would I have Thunder Rift and then a line of "Mystara-lite" products, to follow that up?

Or is Thunder Rift itself meant to be "Mystara-lite"?

Is it possible for people to use Escape from Thunder Rift to dump their party into the Knacker-Knob setting instead? Would that make for a closed TR/KK setting that works in isolation from Mystara and the Known World? :?
EfTR could dump your party anywhere you want it to. For that matter, who says KK wasn't part of Karameikos's past & got relocated to the Hollow World. Look at the Sega Genesis game: Warriors of the Eternal Sun as a prime example. Barrik's Keep was pulled out of TR, dropped in the Hollow World & it's got the same level of civilization as KK. Perhaps in Karameikos's past the area was called Knacker Knob; but, when an Immortal moved it to the Hollow World, said Immortal also made the natives on the surface forget it ever existed.(Like they did w/ the Nithian civilization.)

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Re: Knacker-Knob

Post by Sturm » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:46 pm

Gravesguardian wrote: #4: The lost valley of the Hutaakan in Karameikos.
And none of these suspend your disbelief? That's just some examples to show it isn't hard for a valley like TR to exist in the well known areas of Mystara.
It's a matter of internal coherence, not scientific possibility. The Hollow World is unknown and isolated for specific reasons until in canon some events happen to make it known. #4 and TR are more problematic because they exist in the same general region and I know, from real world history, that isolated communities in general are not so much isolated, or not for long anyway, certainly not for centuries, let alone millenia.
At some point, a goat herder or a hunter will see the valley, a trader will reach it, unless there is some magical explanation why they cannot.
Also even simple societies are more dependant on trade with far away places than most people think, unless they are really at a basic stone age level. But a medieval-like society? Where do they find metals, clothings, food? It is very difficult for a small society to survive isolated. You can decide it is so, but then you have to assume they have limited choice of food and materials, they recycle everything and luxury items have very high price, if they are possible at all. Where do they culture come from? Why certain races or monsters have not been exterminated yet? Why people do not try to go over the mountains?
You can also explain everything with a shrug, magic, the will of the immortal, or else, but I prefer to have some degree of plausibility, and a valley isolated for centuries, yet with a material and immaterial culture similar to the Know World countries, certainly does not make sense to me.
While Hutaaka may have a reason for its isolation, TR has not, being just a generic mini setting.

I think a DM who wants to connect TR to the rest of the world has to work a bit on it to make it work.
That's obviously only if you want to give it a life beyond the run of its modules.

The Hollow World also could be an idea, but then you should find a reason why such cultures where preserved and from where in the OW they came.
KK however is just a carbon copy of current (1000 AC) Karameikos events with different names so there is really no point in placing it in the HW..

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by ripvanwormer » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:58 am

The Thunder Rift sourcebook doesn't portray the valley as completely isolated. Page 9: "The Horned Hills provide an easy exit from the Rift—an even, smooth trail that a fully laden wagon can easily traverse. What's more, the area is nearly devoid of threats to the bustling caravan. On the other hand, those few threats that do exist can be terrible ones..."

The Bone Hills and the Gauntlin Forest also reputedly have exits leading to the world beyond the Rift, but these are more challenging routes.

It does seem unrealistic to have Thunder Rift as a place between (for example) Darokin and Karameikos that nobody knows about. The history of waves of human settlers to the Rift make it likely that outsiders don't find the valley difficult to find. If you wanted to incorporate it into the Known World, I'd establish from the beginning of the campaign that merchants are well aware of it and travel to it, via the pass in the Horned Hills, on a regular schedule. The branch of the Drake River that flows into the Black Swamp might emerge from the mountains as Karameikos' Hillfollow River, navigable by bargemen the whole way. Again, commerce between Thunder Rift and Karameikos should be relatively common, and a good opportunity for adventurers to get jobs as caravan guards. The unnamed keep in the south of Thunder Rift, or the Keep of the Black Knight, might even be the exact same place as Duke's Road Keep on the Karameikos map, though that would contradict the idea that the road leads to Selenica in Darokin. Unless the road branches and leads to both Darokin and Thunder Rift.

I know others have suggested placing Thunder Rift between Rockhome and Alfheim based on the history of dwarf-elf conflict in the valley.

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Gravesguardian » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:27 am

My earlier remark on the suspension of disbelief was meant as a joke, not to be taken seriously. As a whole, Mystara has quite a few "suspenions of disbelief"; but, that's why they call it a "fantasy" setting, lol.
Another reason why the Rift could remain "hidden" from all but the most foolhardly would be the Frost Giants located on the Trail maps in that region of Karameikos. Perhaps the few merchants that do know of TR keep the knowledge to themselves so they are the only buyers for TR goods & sellers of outside goods to TR.
Also, didn't someone once come up w/ the idea of using the Monolith located on the TR map to explain how its been kept hidden & possibly even "shrunk" to actually fit in a mountainous valley? (Not sure if it was on this site or over at VoP.)

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Sturm » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:28 am

Well your ideas and remarks make sense and can work, ripvanwormer and Gravesguardian, but I have a further problem with TR which is the fact it was published quite some time after the original Known World modules, so it is ankward to place it ex post when you have already shown to your players a lot of maps without it.
Basically I've not used it yet and should I do it, I will have to decide where to place it and how to explain it.. Maybe in Norwold or Wendar..

Knacker Knob on the other way I would most certainly use in Karameikos, the area of Luln fits perfectly and could add a whole new depht to the threat of the Black Eagle and the Iron Ring Slavers, connecting them to dragons :)

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Grim » Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:49 pm

This is my idea: Since in "Escape from TR" you go to another dimension: Known World. So it doesn't make sense that you can just walk out of TR through the Horned Hills and straight to Ylarium or whatever, so what I did was put TR on a magical Island that is never in the same place twice. (JJ Abram's LOST) So any trail out of Thunder Rift will lead to water with no escape, even in a boat (you need to follow certain quardinates unknown to players (as of yet) The monolyth, the wailing plateau, and the pit will probably have something to do with the magic controlling the island. Everything the NPC's need can be farmed, mined, there is no reason why people can't survive in a valley of farms and mines forever. And yes, there are a few things that will be unavailable of coarse, but keep in mind the biggest city in TR is Melinir of, if i can remember, 300 people. So there are limits to what is available to the PC's anyways. Makes sense. If PC's are looking for anything exquisit, they have to seek out rich folk, or if they want anything magical or sell magic items, they have to make a trip to Mage Island or whatever it's called. (little tired) That would be an adventure in itself trying to procure certain items. The best thing about a moving Island, is you don't need to place it on an exact place on the map, nobody knows where it is. The only way to return to the island after leaving is through dimensional travel, or figure out the co-ordinates somehow as to where it will appear next and boat there. This should be very hard to do and should take a long time to calculate....better to just find a dimensional pool! After a while you could have the party figure out the "cloaking magic" and decide whether to destroy it making the Island stay in one place and be visitable normally, or to keep the "Secret" of the island to themselves and use it as a total "Safe Zone" once all the chaos is taken care of.
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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Havard » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:17 am

Indeed, Escape from Thunder Rift could be interpreted to lead the PCs to Karameikos from another Plane of Existence or Dimension, if you wish to expand on the setting beyond the area detailed in the maps.

Thunder Rift creator, Colin McComb, said he always imagined the valley to be found in the mountains of Karameikos, but I believe its exact location and nature was kept vague exactly so that DM's could make what they wanted from it :)

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Grim » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:15 pm

Indeed, Escape from Thunder Rift could be interpreted to lead the PCs to Karameikos from another Plane of Existence or Dimension, if you wish to expand on the setting beyond the area detailed in the maps.
Interpreted? How do you interpret the "Dimensional Pool" in Escape from TR taking you to "other dimensions" as anything other than dimensional travel? unless you are mistaking dimensional travel for teleporting? Either way, it is just easier to not physically put it in the known world with all the explaining you have to do, mind you most of the posts i read are pretty darn good for example the time the vampire in Haunted tower arrived in TR was the same time as the same vamp getting banished and chased out of the known world by the new baron or king
Thunder Rift creator, Colin McComb, said he always imagined the valley to be found in the mountains of Karameikos, but I believe its exact location and nature was kept vague exactly so that DM's could make what they wanted from it :)
I figured the creator of Escape from TR had very little to do with TR and the ideas of Colin McComb, so that would explain the Dimensional pool and not..."after 15 or so years of living in Thunder rift you chase a bad magic user up the caravan route and out of the rift for the first time in your life and straight to the town of Bywater in the Known World, which you find out your home rift is just a pimple on the ass of" Im sure Colin McComb would have came up with a far superior module to bring you out of thunder rift to a more advanced setting and not just carelessly used TR as a "prelude" setting to sell Known World products as I'm sure was a decision of TSR
GRIM

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Re: [Dragon's Den] Knacker-Knob

Post by Grim » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:18 pm

but I believe its exact location and nature was kept vague exactly so that DM's could make what they wanted from it :)
Yes, that is what I try to convey to ppl is that it is merely a canvas. Cheers brother I Totally agree
GRIM

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