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First of all, who should read this material. That's simple. Anyone who has interest in the world of Mystara. Of course, some need a more specific answer than this. As such, all the Atlas Sections (of the Old World, Norwold, etc.) can be read by both players and DMs of Mystara. The information given is general, usually common knowledge, and often slightly biased by the correspondents' point of view. Of course, this means that the information is not always 100% accurate, so players be warned: individual DMs might not accept the descriptions of any given place, changing it to suit their needs and campaign. And they're within their rights! After all, who said that the correspondent wasn't a complete fraud? It already happened (and we're sorry for that). DMs may also want to limit the PCs' knowledge to just one area of Mystara (after all, why should someone from the Old World know anything about the Savage Coast?).
The Mystaran Miscellanea section is left to the DM's judgment as to whether or not his players know this information. As such, merchant PCs should have access to the Economica section, while superstitious PCs will probably know their horoscope, for example.
The timeline section, dealing with events for the year of AC 1017 is for the DM's eyes only. It reveals certain secrets that players are just not meant to know unless they discover them the hard way. Of course, this only makes it easier for DMs to change any timeline event to match events that are occurring in their own world of Mystara.
The format used throughout the Mystaran Almanac is similar to the various previous almanacs in this line. As such, each nation will have an entry that will give a brief summary of location, size, population, languages, coins, taxes, industries, and flora and fauna.
There is also a section that lists the names of important people at any given entry. The format is as follows:
Name (title or occupation, race, gender, class/level),
Class/level is presented in the form of a letter (or more) followed by a number, such as F6 or T12. The number indicates level, while the letter represents the class according to the following legend (in 2nd Edition terms):
F = Fighter
M = Mage
Pa = Paladin
M(ab) = Abjurer
R = Ranger
M(co) = Conjurer
T = Thief
M(di) = Diviner
B = Bard
M(en) = Enchanter
C = Cleric
M(il) = Illusionist
Pr = Priest
M(in) = Invoker
Pr(dr) = Druid
M(ne) = Necromancer
Pr(cr) = Crusader
M(tr) = Transmuter
Pr(de) = Defender
WD = Witch-Doctor
Pr(mk) = Monk
Pr(?) = other Specialty Priest
These letters will also be used anywhere where character classes are given, except for the Famous People section, which uses the 3rd Edition rules instead-with a Prestige class as a bonus!
Finally, a section on Further Reading is also given. We strongly recommend purchasing all the wonderful books and adventurer modules on Mystara, as they truly give a much deeper understanding and description than this almanac can ever give. Some of them are available through Joshuan Gallidox Publishing.
Nation descriptions will, as before, have a brief intro section from the correspondent, a section on the land and another on the people of the land. Now, many will have already heard these descriptions several times over. What do you expect? There are only so many ways to describe a given place and its cultures. In fact, entries that have been repeated from last or previous years might actually have paragraphs with the exact same text, word for word. We, the editors, saw no reason to change a description that is already accurate. Often, though, those sections are original, as a new correspondent has joined the almanac and gives us his or her own perspective on a place.
On the other hand, the section on recent events will be different each year. I would think this would be obvious.
Finally, the last sections give us a peek at places that are highly recommended, either to visit or avoid. For this section, we made an effort to have something new to talk about, since each nation probably has more Don't Miss sites that could possibly fit in this entire almanac.
We here at Gallidox Publishing would like to announce the acquisition of the services of Alle Handro, formerly of Aasla. Living here in Karameikos while performing some artistic renderings for the School of Magecraft, Alle has graciously offered his artistic skills in visually enhancing the accounts and locales described in our publication.
Jalinoor Cerrulian is an Alphatian artist who dabbles in chronomancy... or perhaps he's a chronomancer who dabbles in paint and canvas. Either way it boggles the mind. Cerrulian's powers are at the disposal of Gallidox Publishing, and he is quite capable (and most enthusiastic) of being able to illustrate any event that is worth illustrating. "Any place, any time."-his motto.