Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lucca Game Fair

Okay, it's official, I'll be a guest of honor at the Lucca Game Fair this fall to celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the D&D Basic Set. Looking forward to meeting new and old friends, and having  a great time.

A Word from the Archmage

When Ed Greenwood was asked about the actual "age" of the Forgotten Realms, he answered the following:
Ed Greenwood Mystara"I started creating the Realms in 1966 (when, yes, I was six), as a setting for short stories featuring Mirt the Moneylender (moving along the Sword Coast from city to city, a step ahead of creditors, rivals, and local authorities). It became "the Realms" in 1967. Realms fiction was published (in various magazines in Canada, and a small-press book) from 1966 through 1979, when I started doing Realms-related articles in "The Dragon," as the magazine was then known.

"D&D first appeared in 1974, but I didn't discover it until 1975. I converted the Realms to match D&D magic and monster stats in 1978. So the published Realms does predate Greyhawk and Dragonlance and the Known World/Mystara (I've designed official material for all of those, Mystara the most -- and it's my dearest love of all the TSR D&D settings after the Realms).

"As a D&D game setting, the published-by-TSR (and later also by Jake, in an issue of Gameplay magazine) Realms dates from 1979.  Just to set everything straight for those who weren't born, or weren't into gaming, back then..."

A tip of the hat to my old friend, Ed!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Frisland: The Duchy of Wyllareth

Continued from "The County of Västheim"

Once ravaged during the fateful Crusade on Ancient Orzafeth, an easy mark thereafter for those dastardly Qeodim raiders, Wyllareth struggled to rebuild itself. After its rebirth as a duchy, its ruler played a new card to solve her predicament. . . or did she?

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Hex Map
Duchy of Wyllareth -- Map Scale: 8  Miles per Hex
This oblong province runs nearly 400 miles east to west, and 168 miles north to south at its widest spot. Save for the Baalbeth Vale, Wyllareth is as hilly as a flounder stuck under Thor’s hammer. . . and about as joyful. It is a sinister land, overcast, cold, windy, devoid of much population, and marked with scars of war still visible to this day. Wrecked towns and strongholds altogether fail to qualify as ruins, but more as ruins of ruins, following the vicious de-Orzafething campaign to eradicate all things harking of Outer Beings. What Alphatian inquisitors did not raze had already been desecrated, crushed, and desecrated once more by the fiends of Orzafeth. What little was left was hastily buried or scattered.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Frisland: The County of Västheim

Continued from "The Marquisate of Azafeth"

At the tip of the northwestern corner of Alphatia lies the land of a conquered people yearning to regain their freedom. But what can an isolated culture truly hope to gain in the face of the mighty Alphatian Empire?

Mystara Alphatia Frisland Hex Map
County of Västheim -- Map Scale: 8 Miles per Hex
Just short of 200 miles north to south and about as wide, Västheim occupies the peninsula along the Strait of Qeodhar. Cold, wet, and wind-beaten, its soggy grasslands and hills surround the northwestern edge of the Kerothar Mountains. Climate along Alphatia’s northern west coast is similar to the one prevailing in real world Anchorage, Alaska—temperatures average between 50° and 65° F. in the summer (from 10° to 18° C.), and 11° to 23° F. in the winter (from –11° to –5° C.) Though winters tend to be mostly cloudy and snowy, weather remains unpredictable; while one year may see several feet of snow accumulation on the ground, another could experience frequent thaws and ice buildup during the nights. Winds generally blow across the Sea of Alphatia. A mild sea current flows from the south before turning eastward around the northernmost cape, and becomes colder in the Strait of Qeodhar. Temperatures drop rapidly in the mountains. In the vicinity of Widzif, daylight hours in the summer exceed those in the winter due to the region’s latitude.

Original settlers were Antalians, fearless navigators and warriors who’d sailed eastward from faraway Brun. They’d named this land Østheim centuries ago, although it later became known as Västheim (pronounced VEST-high’m), the Kingdom of the West, reflecting an Alphatian point of view. It is only one of many changes imposed by the wizardly conquerors. The present county dates back to the establishment of Greater Frisland as a subject kingdom of the Alphatian Empire, centuries after the fall of the old Antalian kingdoms. Since then, the inhabitants have become somewhat more mixed in their cultural and racial heritage. Dark-haired and pale skinned Alphatians as well as copper skinned Cypric have mixed with local Antalians, showing Yanifey influences as well. In Västheim, the Ogam seem like a distant peril, an ugly and shameful disease that struck their southern cousins which, thankfully, has been averted here. In the minds of the locals, it instilled a concept that their land is therefore unsoiled, somehow holier, and more righteous than their neighbors’. Västheim’s relative economic strength, at least from a Frislandic point of view, only helps reinforce this strong parochial mentality.