The topics below include "The People of Mystara" which describes the important intelligent races on the world, "The Immortals" which briefly describes why these deities are different from those of other worlds, and finally the "Physical Characteristics of Mystara" which describe the world itself and give an overview of the major areas of Mystara.
[An exert from the Mystaran Almanac AC 1015. Written by Dorrik Stonecleaver]
Various intelligent beings live on - and in - Mystara. No almanac of the world could ever be
complete without at least describing the major races that one can encounter during his travels.
This section will therefore give a brief overview of the most important known intelligent species
that have helped shape the history of Mystara. There are obviously more sentient races than those
listed, but these are by far the more common.
Humans come in all shapes and sizes, without really any common theme to unite them. Historians claim that all the humans on Mystara are descendants from three ancient races of humans: the Neathar, the Oltec, and the Tangor. A fourth major race, the Alphatians, arrived on our world just over 2,000 years ago, and have also contributed to the various cultures now found today. With such a short life-span (compared to demihumans), humans have evolved rapidly and there are now more races of humans on Mystara than one can possibly keep track of.
Humans can be found on all the continents of Mystara, and seem to have adapted to almost any climate. As mentioned, there are too many races of humans to describe fully, but the two most common are the Thyatians with their olive complexion and dark hair as well as the Common Alphatians with coppery complexions and brown or red hair.
If there is anything that can be said to generalize humans is that they are all unique. Racial unity is
rare, and only takes place when there is a non-human threat close by. Otherwise, they fight more
often amongst themselves than with other races.
The dwarves of Mystara, often called Rockborn dwarves, all came from the same source: the mountains of Rockhome. They claim that Kagyar - their patron Immortal - created them circa BC 1800, and they have since spread throughout the continent of Brun. Some have even sailed across the sea and made their homes in the land of the now sunken continent of Alphatia [in the former nation of Stoutfellow. Ed.]. Whether the dwarves have colonized other continents during the past remains to be discovered.
Dwarves are lawful beings who only change their ways of life after a very, very long period of time. Every dwarven colony still speaks the exact same dialect of Dengar that is still used in Rockhome. The same holds true for their physical characteristics: all dwarves on Mystara are still identical to their racial ancestors. Rockborn dwarves are the only race of Dwarves that exist on the surface of Mystara.
Rockborn dwarves are stocky and muscular with a deep tan or light brown skin, often with ruddy cheeks. Their hair is often black, gray, or brown, with similar colors for their bright eyes. They vary in height between 4 and 4½ feet. [AD&D: Rockborn dwarves are considered to be the hill dwarves of Mystara, as described in the PHB and Complete Book of Dwarves.]
A second race of dwarves, the Kogolor dwarves, have been found in the Hollow World. There
doesn't appear to be any connection between these dwarves and Rockborn dwarves. Their
description is still unknown to the authors of this Almanac.
The elves claim that they were born from the soul of Mystara and the Immortal Ordana several thousand years ago. At first, guardian spirits of the land watched over them, but then one day they were let free to inhabit the world of Mystara. Some sages speculate that the ancient elves were actually colonists from another world, much like the Alphatians. The departure of the "guardian spirits" is interpreted as a loss of contact with their homeworld. Elves scoff at this idea, however.
Five main races of elves exist on Mystara: the aquarendi, the ee'ar, the shadow elves, the shiye elves, and the sylvan elves. Sages claim that all except the shadow elves evolved [or arrived, depending on the sage. Ed.] while the elves were still watched over by the "guardian spirits." In general, elves stand about 5 feet in height, are more slender than humans, and have pointed ears.
The most common race of elves encountered are the sylvan elves who are named after their legendary homeland, the Sylvan Realms. Sylvan elves have either pale blond hair and blue eyes, or dark hair and intense green eyes. A few clans have red hair, and grey is also not unheard of. Unlike all other elven races, sylvan elves can grow mustaches and beards, a trait that is often noticed among the elves of Belcadiz. Sylvan elves are scattered throughout the continent of Brun and Davania, and almost all the elven clans found in the Old World and the Savage Coast are sylvan elves. Sylvan elves prefer the simple life and live high up in the trees of many forests. Some clans have different attitudes, however. The Belcadiz of Glantri enjoy prestige, reputation and living in human-styled houses, while the Meditor and Verdier elves of Minrothad love money and are renown sailors. The sylvan elves of the Savage Coast have actually abandoned all elven ways and adapted the lifestyles of the nations they live in. [AD&D: Sylvan elves are considered to be the high elves of Mystara, as described in the PHB and Complete Book of Elves.]
The aquarendi are an aquatic race of elves that inhabit the various seas of our world. Gill slits in their neck permit them to breath while underwater. They have webs between their fingers and toes, and small fins on their ankles. Green and blue hair is common among the sea elves, although brown or black have been spotted on rare occasions. Skin colors range from light tan for those living near the shore to bright green or blue for those living deep beneath the sea. [AD&D: Aquarendi are considered to be the sea elves of Mystara, as described in the PHB and Complete Book of Elves.]
The ee'aar are a rare race of winged elves that inhabit the western end of the Savage Coast and the Arm of the Immortals. They look much as the sylvan elves, except appear much more delicate and with more angular facial features. Of course, they also have large feathered wings with a wingspan of at least 10 feet (3 meters). They usually have white or silver hair, although black and gray are not uncommon. Their wings are the same color as their hair. Eyes tend to be amber, violet, or deep green. [AD&D: Ee'aar are the avariel, or winged elves, of Mystara, as described in the Complete Book of Elves.]
The shadow elves are a mysterious race of underground elves. They have gray skin and white hair, and their philosophies appear to be much different than other elves. To date, not much is known about them. Shadow elves inhabit the nation of Aengmor in the Old World with rumors of a large Empire deep beneath the ground. The nation of Schattenalfheim in the Hollow World is also composed of shadow elves. [There is no AD&D counterpart for the shadow elf. AD&D stats are given on TSR's homepage.]
Finally, the shiye elves are slightly taller than other elves. When the elves left their ancient
homeland, the shiye elves went with the sylvan elves and helped create the Sylvan Realms. But
the differences in philosophies, especially the shiye's xenophobia, eventually caused them to leave.
Their new migration brought them to the continent of Alphatia were they founded Shiye-Lawr,
the largest nation of shiye elves. They usually have silver hair and amber eyes, although a few
rare shiye elves have pale golden hair and violet eyes. They are more reclusive than sylvan elves,
and live a much more ordered life than their chaotic cousins. Shiye elves are found throughout
Alphatian territories such as Norwold and Bellissaria. Also, one colony of shiye elves seems to
have settled in Eusdria on the Savage Coast. [AD&D: Shiye elves are considered to be the gray
elves of Mystara, as described in the PHB and Complete Book of Elves.]
Like dwarves, gnomes claim they were created by their patron Immortal - Garal Glitterlode - who also placed them in the mountains of the area now known as Rockhome. Unlike the dwarves, however, gnomish colonization of the rest of the world wasn't so successful. Only when they colonized areas with the dwarves [such as Highforge in Karameikos or Stoutfellow in Alphatia. Ed.] did their colonies survive. Seeing how they couldn't forge nations on the ground, the gnomes of Mystara built Serraine, their wondrous flying city, and there they remain to this day. Still, small scattered communities can still be found in the Old World and Norwold. Elsewhere, gnomes do not seem to be present.
Strictly speaking, there is only one race of Gnomes present on Mystara, and they are simply known as Mystaran Gnomes. The second "race" of gnomes are the sky gnomes which inhabit the flying city of Serraine. Physically the two races of gnomes are identical (hence the reference to just one race of gnomes), although their attitude and culture are so different that many sages prefer to separate them into two races.
Gnomes stand about 3½ feet tall and have rather pronounced noses of which they are quite proud.
They have either pale blond or red hair, which often turns white as they age. Their skin ranges
from dark tan to woody brown, and they usually have bright blue eyes. [AD&D: Mystaran
Gnomes are considered to be the rock gnomes of Mystara as described in the Complete Book of
Gnomes and Halflings. Sky gnomes enjoy inventing things, and are similar to tinker gnomes, but
have more common sense and less chances of exploding inventions. Serraine does fly, after all!]
Goblinoids is a generic term used to describe various barbaric races seemingly related to goblins. There are far too many types of goblinoids to describe here, and many volumes at the very least would be required. Suffice to say that the following goblinoid species are present on Mystara: bugbear, gnoll, goblin, half-ogre, half-orc, hobgoblin, kobold, ogre, orc, and troll. Of those mentioned above, kobolds seem limited to the Old World [sages speculate that they nearly wiped themselves out along with the gnomes during intense racial wars. Ed.], while the rest can be found in all areas of Mystara.
Within each species of goblinoid there are several dozens to hundreds of races. For example, in
the Broken Lands, there are three main races of orcs: yellow orcs, red orcs, and the hyborean
common orc. Several hundred other orc races exist outside the Broken Lands. [AD&D: Stats for
these goblinoids can be found in the Complete Book of Humanoids.]
Half-elves are so rare in the Old World as to be almost legendary [in fact, if playing D&D, they don't exist at all. Ed.]. Many sages believe that a Mystaran elf/Mystaran human couple somehow have a harder time at producing offspring than is reportedly possible on other worlds. When they do, the result is invariably a half-elf [or a human with elven blood or elf with human blood if playing a pure D&D game; see GAZ 5 - The Elves of Alfheim for more details. Ed.]. Strangely enough, half-elves are more common on the Savage Coast. Some speculate Immortal involvement, others a side effect of the Red Curse [two possible reasons for having half-elves on the Savage Coast in a pure D&D game. Ed.]. Half-elves are unknown in the rest of the world.
Half-elves appear like a mix between their human and elven ancestors, hence can have a large
variety of appearances. A look through both the human and elven races can give an idea of the
possibilities. Despite this, half-elves are considered to be of one race: Half-elven [or Half-human
if you're talking to an elf. Ed.]. Unlike most other worlds, half-elves aren't treated with total
scorn by the elves of Mystara; they are so rare that most are curious about half-elves and will
gladly accept their company for a while just to learn more about them.
The Hin, often called halflings by other races, are a small folk who enjoy a good life. Hin have no knowledge of their creation or arrival, although historians trace them back to the original elven homeland, leading them to speculate they "appeared" [that is, were either created or arrived from another world. Ed.] with the elves. Hin tend to blend in with the surrounding communities rather than create their own. Most Hin are therefore found in human nations. The Five Shires of the Old World and the city-state of Leeha in Norwold are the only known true Hin communities. On the Savage Coast, they have been completely absorbed into the local nations.
Hin rarely grow larger than 3 feet in height. They have ruddy complexions, sandy to dark-brown
hair, and blue or hazel eyes. Their faces are small and childlike when compared to a human. Hin
also have thick hair atop each foot. [AD&D: Hin are considered to be the hairfoot halflings of
Mystara, as described in the PHB and Complete Book of Gnomes and Halflings.]
Lupins are race of dog-people that have spread over the world of Mystara. The origins of the lupins are unclear; some believe they are merely a type of more civilized gnolls, and if this were the case, then gnolls would be a race of lupins and not goblinoids. Others think that they are the descendants of the Hutaakans, a race created by the Immortal Pflarr during the height of the Nithian Empire. Because of this belief, some lupin have returned to worshiping Pflarr, and this has caused much trouble in the lupin nation of Renardy.
Over the centuries, lupins have scattered over most of Brun and the rest of Mystara, evolving into several different races. Like humans and other short-lived species, there are too many races of lupins to mention here, just as there are far too many breeds of dogs to describe in a couple of paragraphs. I shall therefore limit this entry to naming a few and giving a general location where they can be found.
Grand Bloodhound are excellent trackers from the nation of Renardy, while the Carrasquito are a small breed that live in El Grande Carrascal of the Savage Coast. The Ogrish Chow-Chow was once a slave race to the ogre-magi of Ochalea but are now free. The Foxfolk is scattered throughout Brun, while the Glantrian Mountaineer is limited to the Glantrian Alps. The Heldann Shepherd are a goat and sheep raising race found in the Heldannic Territories.
Many, many more exist, especially cross-breeds and mongrels (as they are called). For a more complete list and better descriptions, I strongly recommend an article written by Raman Nabonidus of the Princess Ark. The article is entitled "Lupins of the Mystara setting" and can be found in Dragon Magazine #237.
The Rakasta are a race of cat-like beings who also claim that a patron Immortal created them. This time, it is the Immortal Ka who transformed a cat into a human when she fell in love with her master. But when Ba-steh [the human/cat in question. Ed.] still behaved like a cat, Ka instead transformed her and her human lover into cat-people: the first Rakasta. When this happened is still unknown, but it is believed to have occurred prior to the Great Rain of Fire, explaining how they have since spread throughout most of the world [and even beyond if you believe they have a colony on an invisible moon. Ed.]. They have adapted to various climates and evolved into several sub-races.
Rakasta are mainly wild, and most have fled lands that were colonized by humans, and as such are almost unheard of in the Old World. Rakasta have one nation on the Savage Coast [Bellayne. Ed.], but beyond that are mostly scattered tribes throughout the world. Like all short-lived races (that is, those of less than 100 years), rakasta have evolved rapidly and many races now apparently exist in the wild, so below we'll only describe those who often come in contact with the rest of the civilized world. In general, rakasta are man-sized, but weight easily two or three times as much. One noticeable difference in the fact that rakasta need 12 hours of sleep per day.
The msongo, also known as the Fast Runners, have a coarse coat varying from yellowish-gray to golden. A reddish-fawn with small dark spots is also common among them. They are tall and lanky, but can achieve great speeds when running. The msongo are known to inhabit the Meghala Kimata grasslands of Davania, the Steps of Jen of Skothar, and on the Thothian Plateau on the Isle of Dawn.
The jakar are found in the rainforests of the Arm of the Immortals. They have beautiful spotted coats which are prized by Vilaverdan hunters. Not much is known about them except that most Vilaverdans hunting the jakar fail to return from their expeditions.
Mountain rakasta are the most common rakasta of the Savage Coast, and have also been spotted in the remote wilderness of Norwold. Their fur varies from plain grey-brown to reddish and even black. A tribe of mountain rakasta is rumored to inhabit the Kurish Massif, and if this is true, they are the only known rakasta in the Old World.
Many other races of rakasta exist, and those seeking more information should look up the
"Rakasta of Mystara," written by Raman Nabonidus of the Princess Ark. [This article can be
found in Dragon Magazine #247. Ed.]
[An exert from the Mystaran Almanac AC 1015. Written by Belzamith Fingertackles]
The people of Mystara worship powerful beings known as Immortals. These beings fill in the same roles as Gods (or Powers) would on another world, and most religions focus on the desires of the Immortals. The main difference between Immortals and Gods are that the Immortals were once mortal that have since advanced to a state of being far beyond their former peers by accomplishing deeds of heroic proportion.
Some claim that the Immortals are merely another family or collection of gods. The name Immortal merely refers to the group of Mystaran deities, much like Olympians refers to the gods of the Greek people, and Aesir is the name of the Norse powers. Or, perhaps the cultures of Mystara simply developed the term Immortal instead of God. Some reverse the same debate, stating that Gods and Powers are merely other terms used to describe Immortals.
Other sages state that Immortals are not Gods. They are powerful beings akin to Gods and Powers, and are definitely deities in their own rights, but they are not the same. They use the fact that Immortals have been slain by very powerful mortals on rare occasions, while Gods simply cannot be slain by mortals.
Regardless, whatever the Immortals truly are simply does not matter to most people. They are
more powerful than mortals can imagine. They serve as the basis of faith and grant clerics and
priests their spells. With their powers and priests, they manipulate the world into outcomes that
they favor. Anything beyond that is probably beyond mortal comprehension anyway.
[A compilation of exerts from the Mystaran Almanac AC 1015.]
By now, most readers would have heard various rumors and fairy tales about how our world is a large hollow sphere floating in the emptiness of the void. In this void are also the sun, Matera, the stars, and a few other planets discovered by astronomers.
Well it seems those rumors are indeed true. Several groups have reportedly successfully crossed the large polar opening into the Hollow World, each reporting that it looks like the inside of a sphere with an eternal red sun within. Also, by recently laying my hands on a copy of certain sections of Captain Haldemar of the Princess Ark's logbook, even an outside description of Mystara from the void only serves to further validate this belief.
Prospero, the owner and author of the Poor Wizard Almanacs (property of TSR), claims that Mystara has a diameter of 6,190 miles (9904 km), giving it a circumference of 16,352 miles (26,163 km). The three volumes also state the entire Hollow World is approximately 3,790 miles (6,064 km) in diameter. The polar openings are supposedly 774 miles (1,238 km) in diameter at their narrowest point, 1,030 miles (1,648 km) in diameter on the Hollow World's side and 1,548 miles (2,477 km) in diameter on the outer world's side. The crust is about 1,200 miles (1,920 km) thick.
Now, where this information comes from is still unknown to the authors of the Mystaran Almanac, and Prospero refuses to reveal his sources. Most sages we have brought this knowledge to admit that the values do seem reasonable. It should be noted, however, that Julinius Dicrodion, a renown Thyatian map-maker, claims that the values are wrong and that Mystara is actually much larger than that. He is currently organizing and financing several map-making expeditions to try and prove his point. Other map-makers scoff at his, as they say, "ludicrous" idea.
From more reliable sources (not to say that the previous information is false, just that we do not know where it came from), the world of Mystara is surrounded by a magical bubble known as the Sky-Shield. This Sky-Shield allows objects to enter the world of Mystara, but not to leave. Thanks to this, the air that we breath remains on Mystara and does not spill out into the empty void that surrounds us.
Again from Haldemar's journals, the Sky-Shield is reportedly situated 15 miles (24 km) above the ground. A friend of mine in the Heldannic Knights confirms this report.
Various rumors we've heard claim that Sky-Shields occurs on every planet on the Prime Plane. Although we again have no way to verify this, I've heard similar tales from various groups, so I've decided to publish this rumor anyway. Still, a sage of Aeria once told me that Sky-Shields are only a localized phenomenon to our crystal sphere. He has yet to inform me what exactly a crystal sphere is though. I'm still trying to figure this one out.
Our atmosphere is completely normal up until about 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) in altitude. After
that height, it's much harder to breath, and most expert skyship sailors recommend some sort of
magical breathing apparatus or spell.
Now, with the physical description of Mystara as a whole done with, it is time to start examining various areas in closer detail. We, the authors of the Mystaran Almanac, have decided to divide the known sections of Mystara into 6 separate areas. Each sector differs both geographically and sometimes even culturally from one another. Admittedly, each zone does vary considerably in cultures, as anyone can plainly see that Ethengarians are in no way similar to the mages of Glantri. Overall, however, there is a somewhat different tone, or atmosphere, in each zone of Mystara. At least, we the authors believe so.
The heart of civilization, which includes the fine nations of Karameikos and the Five Shires is known as the Old World. The less civilized and more frontier area covered with the dreaded Red Curse is called the Savage Coast. The lands of feudalism to the north fall in the area of Norwold. The islands of the Sea of Dawn create another sector, while the large open waters of the New Alphatian Confederate Empire will be called the Alphatian Sea. Finally, the colonies of Davania fall into the area now known as the Jungle Coast.
So, without any further delay, welcome dear readers, to the lands of Mystara.
THE OLD WORLD
Formerly called the Known World and the Dread Coast, the Old World is the seat of civilization on the world of Mystara. It is the place where technology is at its peak. It is the place where art and music are awe inspiring. Civilization is almost everywhere, and it is rare indeed to walk for more than a day and not have any village or town to rest in for the night.
In this enlightened land, education is on the rise, and most people can read and write. It is an age of knowledge and discoveries. Even magic, once held secret by old mages in their remote towers, can now be learned through various schools and universities. Slavery is almost abolished, and most people are considered citizens of their nations, having the freedom to do as they please. Diplomacy is the favored method of accomplishing one's goals, and savage brutality is almost non-existent.
Of course, this does not mean there is no danger to be found. Some places are still savage, such as the Atruaghin clans or the hordes of the Ethengar Steppes. Goblinoids can still be found almost everywhere, and their brutality is unmatched in the entire world. Even diplomatic nations cannot achieve everything with words, and therefore their armies march across the land. It is simply that, here, in the Old World, such events are normally much rarer than anywhere else on Mystara.
Instead of brute force, this land is ripe with intrigue and behind-the-scenes powers. Manipulations
are everywhere, and strong guilds and organizations rule almost as much as the kings on their
thrones. Those that think that adventure cannot be found here in the Old World simply aren't
looking in the right place.
The Old World is a large stretch of land found in the south-eastern margin on the continent of
Brun. It is bordered by the Sea of Dread to the south at roughly 35 degrees North of latitude
(with a few island nations reaching 32 degrees North). The Sea of Dawn lies to the east, while
the deserts of the Great Wastes are to the west. The Mengul Mountain Range, at approximately
45 degrees North of Latitude mark the northern borders of the Old World. Within this land are
21 "nations," most of them enlightened, but a few still hold on to barbaric traditions. These
nations have influenced every other corner of the world, and just as Mystara is the center of the
multiverse, the Old World can honestly be said to be the core or Heart of Mystara.
THE ALPHATIAN SEA
The once mighty Alphatian Empire has sunk beneath the ocean, and in its place now sits the Alphatian Sea. Dotted with several hundred isles representing the top of drowned mountains, the Alphatian Sea is rich with pirates and island fortresses.
The Alphatian Sea is also the place to be to search for magical treasures. The ocean floor is littered with thousands upon thousands of magical items from the former Empire, and many adventurers are doing their best to try and acquire them. Several hundred have been found already, and most now reside in the hands of the pirates who then plundered the treasure-seekers. Those who manage to acquire an Alphatian Artifact always find fame and glory with it.
The people of the Alphatian Sea are mostly free citizens, most belonging to the New Alphatian Confederate Empire (annoyingly called NACE by most of the commoners). They are well educated, mainly literate, and boast a larger percent of mages than most of the world. Some are also slaves, which is still legal and acceptable. Slaves are only very rarely able to read or write.
Only a few nations of the area do not belong to the NACE, and although ships from around the world sail here, the Alphatian Sea is territory claimed by the NACE. Still, they have far too few ships to patrol everywhere, hence pirates are able to roam freely and do almost anything they please.
Adventurers come to seek fame for defeating some of the most notorious pirates of the world,
while others come in search of sunken treasure. Reputation and glory is more important than
anything else, an insults rarely go unchallenged. All in all, it is a swashbuckling place with endless
adventures on the high seas. On the Alphatian Sea, fame and glory mean everything!
The Alphatian Sea has one minor continent known as Bellissaria on its southern-eastern margin,
located roughly between 30 and 40 degrees North of latitude. This is where most of the NACE
forces are concentrated, and the only place where the law is effectively maintained. To the west,
Norwold and the Isle of Dawn mark the end of the Alphatian Sea, while the continent of Skothar
indicates its eastern limits. The north is bordered only by the glaciers marking the north pole and
the entrance to the Hollow World. The southern waters eventually turn into the Sea of Dawn
(toward the Southwest) and the Bellissarian Sea (toward the Southeast).
THE HOLLOW WORLD
The Hollow World is a legendary place only recently discovered to be real.
THE JUNGLE COAST
Across the Sea of Dread lies the mighty continent of Davania. Its northern shores is covered with a lush, vibrant jungle teeming with life and dangers. Within these jungles are several clans of savages and barbarians, some humans, others not.
Most of the Jungle Coast is unexplored, and no one is exactly sure what can be found in the vast new territory. Rumors abound of strange primitive cultures with wondrous architectures, such as crystal pyramids or deep sacrificial pits.
The lands of the Jungle Coast are currently undergoing a mass colonization by the Empire of Thyatis and the Heldannic Knights. The natives, however, are none too pleased, and many battles arise from the competition for territory and defending of homeland. Still, the advance of civilization is steady, and there is much progress in the proper education of the locals.
The Jungle Coast is a place where one can brave the new land, carve out territory for the settlers,
and defend the poor farmer from the savage natives. All in all, if you enjoy exploration and the
new frontier, the jungle coast is the place to go.
The Jungle Coast is a stretch of several hundred miles on the northern shores of Davania. Its
exact size is still unknown as it is mostly unexplored. A rough estimate of its borders would be
the Cestian Sea to the east, the Meghales Amosses Desert in the south and the Adakkian Mounts
to the west. The northern shores of the Jungle Coast, which borders onto the Sea of Dread, are
located at approximately 15 degrees North of latitude.
The lands to the far north of civilization is a land of constant warfare and power struggles between the nobility. Once united as the Kingdom of Norwold, with the disappearance of Alphatia, the region's former king was unable to hold onto the reins of power. Now the land is dotted with hundreds of small kingdoms, counties, baronies, and other type of dominions.
The realms of Norwold follow the old practice of feudalism, with the local lord controlling all aspects of life within the dominion. All the rest are merely peasants who toll at their leader's whims. Some are lucky and have benevolent rulers, while others are treated no better than slaves by the tyrants who hold the crown.
The level of education in Norwold varies greatly, as do the cultures of the inhabitants. Those who colonized from Alphatia tend to be literate, as do the people conquered by the Heldannic Knights (thanks to their forced education of the ways of Vanya). Those of Thyatian descent are semi-literate, while the native Antalian people are mainly uneducated.
Norwold is a land where the title of nobility hangs loosely on anyone with power. Rulers rise and fall constantly, and their power reaches only as far as their armies can reach. Alliances are made as lesser nobles swear fealty to more powerful ones, only to find independence once their liege is overthrown.
Many adventurers with money and time to spare try to carve out their own dominions within the
valleys of Norwold, only to have another self-proclaimed noble take it away with his own army.
Those with patience enough to try again, or those capable enough of holding their own can
quickly forge a dominion that will last years. Norwold is the place where the bold and daring can
hope to carve out a nation of their own.
Encompassing all the northeastern area of the continent of Brun, Norwold stretches from the
frozen Arctic Ocean all the way south to the Mengul Mountains (at a latitude of approximately 45
degrees North). The beach along the Alphatian Sea delineates the Eastern margin, while the
imposing Icereach Range cuts off western Norwold from the rest of the world.
THE SAVAGE COAST
The Savage Coast is a frontier land, with continuous goblinoid invasions and squabbles between the local lords. Most of the land is in ruins and is mainly unexplored. Colonized over the centuries by the riff-raft of the Old World, most people are unscrupulous and the law of the jungle often prevails. The natives who lived there (goblinoids, savage rakasta and lupins, etc) are none too friendly either, and are often hostile towards humans and demihumans.
Some of the natives are more civilized, such as the rakasta of Belayne or the lupins of Renardry. In fact, along the Savage Coast, race is often ignored and non-humans can fit in easily to human society. Instead, nationality is the main source of pride, and several nations have had century long feuds in which there appears to be no end in sight.
In this land, the local lords make the rules, and others are poor and uneducated peasants who must follow their whim. Many an adventurer has broken free of this feudalism and wanders the land, without a home, in search of fortune and fame. There are more adventurers without loyalties on the Savage Coast than anywhere else on Mystara.
Unique to this land is a strange metal called Red Steel. This metal is as strong as normal steel, but much lighter, making it a prized possession by all warriors. Red Steel is more precious than gold, and rulers have sacrificed entire armies to try and control its trade. Many grand quests has the goal of finding Red Steel, and many wars still go on because of it.
Finally, the entire land is falls under the sway of the dreaded Red Curse. This affliction deforms all those it affects, transforming them into hideous beasts. Even stranger, some of the inhabitants seem to have learned how to control this curse, gaining wondrous magical powers known as Legacies. It is rumored than once you are affected by the Red Curse, you cannot leave the Savage Coast otherwise the curse will destroy you.
Adventure can be found by exploring the many ruins and searching for ancient artifacts. But on
the Savage Coast, Red Steel and the mastery of Legacies are the true keys to power and fame!
Located to the west of the Old World, the Savage Coast stretches almost 2000 miles in length.
It's southern shores lie against the Western Sea of Dread at a latitude of about 30 degrees North.
The west is blocked by Yalu Bay. To the east, the Great Waste separates the Savage Coast from
the Old World. Finally, the north is bordered by the Yazzak Steppes, home of the endless hordes
THE SEA OF DAWN
To the east of the Old World, where the sun rises every morning, lies the Sea of Dawn. It is a place rumored to be mystical in nature by many tavern tales, and perhaps it is. Three exotic cultures can be found in this area, notably the Thothians, the Ochaleans, and the Pearl Islanders.
The rest of the nations, however, are either Thyatian or Alphatian in origin, and many bear the numerous scars of war between the two Empires. For the Sea of Dawn is the border between the Old World and the Alphatian Sea, and it is were the two cultures clash, more often violently than not.
The Isle of Dawn, a continent size island in the north of the Sea of Dawn, is a militaristic land where armies march constantly and battles take place almost daily. Such constant warfare has spread to the nearby Alatian Islands as well, and glory can easily be found by brilliant tacticians and expert mercenaries. The battles between the Empires have died down since the signing of the Treaty of Dawn (or Isle of Dawn Treaty), yet it only takes a spark to start the war all over again.
Still, another threat seems to be looming over the area, and many of the nations are fearful of an attack by strange spiders found on the Thothian Plateau. The nature of these Aranea is unknown, and whether there will be a war or not is also unclear. But if there is, the people of the Isle of Dawn will be used to it.
The southern islands, however, are peaceful in nature, and no trip is more relaxing that one to Ochalea or the Pearl Islands. It is from these nations that the Sea of Dawn receives a mystical description when talked about, for surely no one talks with pride about the constant wars on the Isle of Dawn.
The people of the Sea of Dawn are educated, and except for the Pearl Islanders, a majority can
actually read and write. Both Thyatian and Alphatian are well known, and it is rare to find
someone who cannot speak both languages.
The Sea of Dawn is officially the sea along the eastern coast of the Old World, ending upon
reaching the continents of Bellissaria and Alphatia. Since the sinking of Alphatia, the former
Eastern Sea of Dawn has now become part of the New Alphatian Sea. The Sea of Dawn ends
northward when it reaches the coast of Norwold, and its southern end borders the Jungle Coast
on Davania (at approximately 15 degrees North of latitude). West of the southern Sea of Dawn is
the Sea of Dread, while to the east is the Bellissarian Sea.
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Last Updated 12 November 2006.