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Controversy over Karawenn in Mystara

by Håvard

From previous discussions, I have identified four issues that have raised controversy over adapting Karawenn to Mystara:

1. Karawenn is not Canon
I am currently of the position that Karawenn should not be considered Mystara Canon, but is instead seated firmly in the camp of Apocrypha. It is clear that the novels detailing Karawenn were not written with Mystara specifically in mind. At the same time, the novels employ a clear Mentzerian cosmology with Immortals, the Five Spheres etc which are unique to the Classic D&D/Mystara Multiverse. Statements by Bruce Heard that he had intended these novels to be part of Mystara should also be taken into account. Ultimately, the decision is left up to the individual DM however. As a result of this, I have in Take 2 of the Karawenn project taken steps to adapt the material from the novels so that they better fit with Mystara Canon, instead of wading right through it.

2.Location in Norwold
I have returned to the position that Karawenn would fit best in the Norwold region. This has also been a controversial issue. One of the arguments for locating it in Norwold, is that Douglas Niles author of both the First Quest Triad and CM1 suggested Norwold as the best location for the novels. Furthermore the maps from the novels are easily fitted to this area (as shown in my maps). Finally several of the geographical names of Karawenn are very close to those of Norwold, probably due to both settings having the same creator. The main objections previously raised to this had to do with scepticism concerning having to alter geographical features to accommodate Karawenn (particularly the World's End) and the Origin and nature of the Humans of Karawenn. I will discuss these below:

3. Geographical discrepancies and The World's End
In my second take of the adaptation of Karawenn to Norwold I have taken steps to limit the number of changes in the regions geographical features that would have to be changed to accommodate Karawenn. By giving the Karawenn map a slight tilt, the Trollheim Mountains fall into the place of the Jotunheimr Hills. In the current map, I have stayed true to CM1 and fan made maps of Norwold with the exception of adding the river Tanyv which flows through Karawenn and the World's End Canyon. In the original version, World's End was a much more imposing feature, with planar connections and the odd attribute of having the sea plunge into the Canyon. In this revised version, I have toned it town severely making it into a mere mundane canyon which may be too small to have shown up on 24 mile hex maps.

4. Origin and nature of the Humans of Karawenn
There were two issues raised concerning the Humans of Karawenn. The first being that such a large area of civilised beings would affect the power balance of Norwold, especially if running CM1. IMO there is no way of adding Karawenn and claiming it would not affect its surroundings at all. However, in this version, Karawenn's population is small and disorganised. CM1 mentions barbarian settlements all over Norwold. Karawenn will be seen from the outside as little more than barbarous states. The realms of Karawenn refer to themselves as Kingdoms and Duchies, but in actuality they are little more than baronies. They have suffered greatly from attacks by Trolls and other monsters over the last centuries and thus have very little contact with the rest of Norwold, including even the Shire of Leeha.

The other question of the Humans of Karawenn is their origin. In my first write-up I suggested that many of the humans here were a result of Thyatian colonising efforts and Known World emigration in general. This concept has been abandoned. Instead I now see two races of humans living in the area. The commoners are Antalian-Stock barbarians. The main bulk of these humans live in the Knollbarrens and call themselves Darymen. The gentry and nobility are Alphatians arriving in the wave of Alphatian colonisation ca 450-510 AC. I have also linked the early exploration of the region by the Wizard Graytor with the Alinor period.