Friday, September 28, 2012

Cracking Mystara: Ten Last Thoughts

Here's part of a review posted on Age of Ravens that you might find valuable, if you haven't seen it yet.

Now that I've finally finished my review of the Gazetteer series, I have a few final thoughts. I pull links to all of those reviews in my previous post: Gazetteers of Mystara: the Review List.


I’ve said it before, but the volume of rich material in these books means that WotC really ought to be offering some kind of reprint or electronic version. I understand some of the logic for avoiding that: piracy, driving players towards new editions, production costs. Of these only the last seems to hold any merit. But illegal electronic versions exist already and I would love to be able to purchase clean, well-done and legal editions. The OSR movement has peeled off players- better to gain some market share within that rather than ignoring it. I doubt the existence of these materials with significantly impact sales of a present edition.

During the brief time WotC did sell electronic versions, I picked several up. Some of them had been scanned well- pages aligned, clean up done, contrast balanced. However many sucked. They were nearly useless because whoever’d done the scanning job had been asleep at the switch. Producing good quality materials will obviously take some time, effort, and therefor expense. I’m not saying I want Original Electronic Version quality, just something relatively clean. If WotC's serious about drawing back fans across all of the editions, then reprinting- electronic or otherwise- ought to be an arrow in their quiver.

I’m saying this because I really want a PoD copy of
The Rules Cyclopedia. (. . .)

Click HERE for the remainder.

I thought Lowell's post was pretty much spot-on.  I'd be interested in seeing similar evaluations of the more obscure accessories, such as Creature Crucibles and the Poor Wizards' Almanach.  In any case, my thanks to Lowell Francis for his work!


  1. Book of Marvelous Magic reviewed on Grognardia:

  2. Sir Bruce,
    This post got me to thinking about Mystara again. Were you still working for TSR when Wrath of the Immortals was published? I always wondered why they had the Shadow Elves invade and conquer Alfheim in the known world. It seemed like a strange decision as it basically makes the Alfheim Gazetteer useless as a reference for people wanting to play in the current timeline. I thought you might be able to shed some light on the thinking of the time, if you were still working there that is.

    1. I'd be hard-pressed to tell why specifically this happened. There were a lot of things happening -- at the office in general -- to keep my attention elsewhere at the time. In retrospect if I had to do it all over again, I would do it very differently. Alterations to the Known World in particular went too far in my opinion. That's unfortunate.


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