Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

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Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Havard » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:19 pm

At the Black Gate Blog, Lawrence Schick finally reveals details on the D&D Campaign World, he created with Tom Moldvay in Akron, Ohio. This is the campaign setting that eventually became TSR's Known World and later Mystara.

I found this extremely interesting! :)

The “Known World” D&D Setting: A Secret History
Saturday, February 7th, 2015 | Posted by Lawrence Schick
http://www.blackgate.com/2015/02/07/the ... t-history/

Thanks to Shane Murphy for posting this on FB. :)

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by paleologos » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:21 pm

Absolutely fascinating!

I noticed that one of the pre-KW cities is Keraptis - of course, the name of the mage in Schick's White Plume Mountain...so the original S2 may have been set in the Known World.

Reading this, I felt another pang of loss for Tom Moldvay. I would love to see some of his notes emerge.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by agathokles » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:29 pm

Quite interesting, indeed.

GP

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Hugin » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:10 am

You beat me to the punch, Havard! I just came here to post about this article. I had no idea that the setting went so far back.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by JamesMishler » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:32 am

Here are modern Hexographer versions of those maps...

Click for Maps

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Great work on the map, James.

It's amazing how similar the map style (icons in hexes) in the original map is to the published TSR Known World maps. That style of mapping grabbed my attention the first time I saw it.

I listed some of my favorite 'weird' things about the original Known World:

Created for OD&D!

Weird fiction influences are much more pronounced.

Schick: "Moldvay did most of the initial culture write-ups, whereas I created the leading non-player characters in each homeland; I was also the Name Guy and came up with most of the location names, drawing on Dunsany, Vance, and Clark Ashton Smith for inspiration."

Schick: "...in every land there would be hidden cults that worshiped Lovecraftian Elder Gods."

Shoggoth in the list of languages.

Malpheggi and Quastog tribes being footnoted as "marginally human".

Kzinti, Tharks and Mahars among the non-human races.

Giganthropithici (Giant Ape-Men?) among the races that speak Ogre.

"Keraptis" appears on the list of city names...this was also the name of the wizard in Schick's White Plume Mountain.

"Tentrumtoom...K88 (ruined city & pyramid dungeon)" - precursor of B4 The Lost City? There's also a city of Cynidicea but it appears to a be living city.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:36 pm

Another thought. Perhaps the Kzinti (cat-like aliens created by Larry Niven and appearing in one episode the Star Trek Animated Series) included in this campaign are the inspiration for Moldvay's Rakastas in X1, where the Known World map first appeared as well? The humanoid feline Rakastas of B/X are quite different from the demonic AD&D versions.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:32 pm

Zenopus wrote:Another thought. Perhaps the Kzinti (cat-like aliens created by Larry Niven and appearing in one episode the Star Trek Animated Series) included in this campaign are the inspiration for Moldvay's Rakastas in X1, where the Known World map first appeared as well? The humanoid feline Rakastas of B/X are quite different from the demonic AD&D versions.

Definitely this.

BTW, the AD&D creatures are called Rakshasas and are definitely a different species altogether.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:52 pm

Ah, that's right. Save Vs Memory - failed!

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:03 pm

Zenopus wrote:Ah, that's right. Save Vs Memory - failed!
It happens to us all :)

BTW in the Dragonsfoot thread on this topic, you mentioned the Mahars:
Zenopus77 wrote:Mahars are intelligent, telepathic pterodactyl-like creatures from Burroughs' Pellucidar novels; also re-used in Holmes' sequel Mahars of Pellucidar in 1976. Anything like this in the Known World or Hollow World?

There are Pterodactyls in the HW, but AFAIK not intelligent ones. Now that I think about it, Molvay's Twilight Calling does have a reptillian race, the Carnifex, though I always saw them more similar to Raptors. Could the Mahars from Moldvay's Campaign be the original Carnifex?


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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:21 pm

I looked at M3 & noted that he said the Carnifex were related to lizards and dinosaurs, and are man-eaters like the Mahars. But they don't seem to be able to fly, while the Mahars definitely could.

Something else: over on ODD74 in 2013, snorri posted a quote from Dragon #37 indicating that Moldvay & Schick ran some high level campaigns in Ohio:
“The origin of Giants in the Earth goes back to a series of high-level adventures run in the Kent-Akron (Ohio) area before any of the AD&D books were on the market. We needed to fill a gap between the tougher monsters and the gods. Most of the players were raised on fantasy and science fiction, so heroes from literature seemed an ideal answer. At that time, of necessity, all player characters used the D&D experience tables. It was not unusual for a player character to be 20th level or higher.
Since M3 is a very high level module, this makes me wonder if Tom's M3 was adapted from earlier high level campaign material - perhaps Carnifex castle was a Mahar castle? (Mahars do build cities in Pellucidar). And Carnifex Castle does have some traps that seem to come out of the '70s, like a 'pit of poisonous barbecue sauce' :shock:

All speculation, but fun.

Edit: Another, perhaps more likely, inspiration for the Carnifex is the vanished race of serpentfolk from the Age of Dinosaurs found in the stories of Clark Ashton Smith - particularly since Moldvay was such a fan of his work. The serpentmen were great sorcerers, like the Carnifex.


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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by paleologos » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:03 am

What I love about the Ur-Known World:

1. Everything is much more spread out and makes better geographic sense.

2. The Aegean-style archipelago in between Karameikos and Thyatis.

3. When B4 came out, we played it for over a year and I made the Cynidiceans lost Thyatian colonists!

4. Is Ubirg the proto-Thanegioth archipelago?

5. I think that's a volcano near Keraptis...I claim S2 for Mystara! (plants flag).

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by JTrithen » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:27 am

JamesMishler wrote:Here are modern Hexographer versions of those maps...

Click for Maps

Love the hexographer maps, James! (Much more readable.) Thanks.

Love this thread. Lots of fun to look at some of the ancient evolution of the design of the Known World (and Mystara).

:)

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Havard » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:02 pm

My big question at the end of this: What can we as Mystara fans bring back from the Akron campaign and into Mystara? Names of kingdoms, cities and tribes, as well as races is gold worth IMO! :)

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:06 pm

paleologos wrote:2. The Aegean-style archipelago in between Karameikos and Thyatis.
These cities, along with Akorros and Akesoli, would be likely candidates for the "Ancient Mediterranean (Greece/Rome)" culture mentioned by Schick.
4. Is Ubirg the proto-Thanegioth archipelago?
The islands in that location are certainly suggestive. Regarding the name Ubirgh, in the original notes it is just the name of an Orc tribe that lives on islands, and it doesn't indicate which. James interpreted this as the southern islands, but there are other islands on the map, both in the inland seas and to the northwest. And in his hexographer map he went a little further in naming those southern islands Ubirgh and the sea between them the Sea of Dread. Which is fine but we should keep in mind it may or may not be the original intention.
5. I think that's a volcano near Keraptis...I claim S2 for Mystara! (plants flag).
I considered that, although I'm not sure if that icon is supposed to be a volcano, a crater or a plateau/mesa. There's another one north of Darokin. There are some other black-tipped mountains near one of the inland lakes that are also mysterious, perhaps these are volcanoes. It does roughly correspond to the area of Rockhome in the X1 map, which has an inland lake and a few volcanoes. In his hexographer maps it appears that James interpreted the former as plateaus and the latter as volcanoes.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Havard » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:27 pm

Tom Moldvay's contributions to Mystara in published form:
  • B3 - Palace of the Silver Princess (Green cover. Rewritten from Jean Wells' original.) - 1981
  • D&D Basic Set (B/X) - (1981)
  • X1 The Isle of Dread (1981)
  • X2: Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville) (1981)
  • B4 - The Lost City (1982)
  • X1: The Isle of Dread (1983 )
  • M3: Twilight Calling (1986 )
  • AC9 Creature Catalog (Contributor) (1986)
  • B1-9: In Search of Adventure (1987 )
X1 contained the Map of "The Continent" and description of each of the realms of the Known World. X2 is also pretty significant, making the ground work for the lands of Glantri. Twilight Calling is perhaps more obscure, but it was the module that introduced the fan favorite monsters, the Carnifex.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Zenopus » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:39 am

It's also possible Dave Cook's work was influenced by the original Moldvay/Schick setting. Obviously, he collaborated with Moldvay on X1 and the Expert Set rulebook, but he also authored X4/X5, B6, CM4, AC2/AC5/AC8 and M1 (Blizzard Pass) by himself - but one or more of these might have been influenced by the original setting material.

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by JamesMishler » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:54 am

RE: Sea of Dread and Ubirgh Archipelago were both confirmed by Lawrence Schick; I asked about the Sea of Dread, and he subsequently confirmed the Ubirgh Archipelago.

I'm waiting to hear back on some other items I've asked him about... he's busy this week.

RE: Carnifex, Tom Moldvay was also a big fan of Lin Carter, and Lin Carter's biggest series was Thongor... which featured the Dragon Kings. Those were almost certainly the inspiration for the Carnifex...


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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Justinov » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:43 pm

The 1976 map given there is really really cool. Familiar names, just in different locations to each other, than we are used to.
Almost in some ways culture wise this map makes more sense than the later “known world“ - Ethangar and Ylaruam for instance.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Bouv » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:27 am

Some really cool stuff!

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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:56 am

I just came here to post about 'The “Known World” D&D Setting: A Secret History', but saw you already have a thread here with a slightly different name. :)

Is there anything in "Known World Key A", "Known World Languages" or "Known World Map 1" that got excluded from Mystara?
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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:13 pm

JamesMishler wrote:Here are modern Hexographer versions of those maps...

Click for Maps
...and...
Thanks for the research James. :)
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Re: Lawrence Schick: A Secret History of Mystara

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:06 pm

Big Mac wrote:Is there anything in "Known World Key A", "Known World Languages" or "Known World Map 1" that got excluded from Mystara?
About half of it.

Keraptis, Sclavak, Nanq-Rubbob, Sxodan, Nolo-Nolo, Gugonix, Dwyrain, Mnoki, Dulesmir, Cusort, Plirok, Quastog, Hagarth, Capheron, Grilth, Ubirgh, Vanog, and Kobblekem aren't words that are part of Mystara to my knowledge. Keraptis became the wizard in White Plume Mountain in Greyhawk.

Things that are part of Mystara: Ylaruam, the Minrothad Guilds, Akesoli, Darokin, Glantri, Thyatis, Cynidicea, Corunglain, Ierendi, Ethengar, the Malpheggi Swamp, the Atruaghin Clans, the Alasiyan Desert (where Ylaruam and Cynidicea are), the Atlan Tepes Mountains, Lake Amsorak, the Canolbarth Forest.

As far as the languages go, Thyatian and Ethengar exist in Mystara and are distinct languages. The Heldann Freeholds exist but they speak Thyatian there. They definitely don't speak the same language in the Atruaghin Clans that they do in Ylaruam (unless you have them both speak Common). Alasiya and Ylaruam are the same place. Among the nonhumans, goblins, orcs, dwarves, gnomes, trolls, gnolls, elves, kobolds, hobgoblins, ogres, and giants exist but shoggoths, mahars, and tharks don't. Rakastas exist instead of kzinti.

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