Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Mystara 3E - Chapter 4: Geographyby Roger LV Girtman II
Structure of MYSTARA
Like most worlds, MYSTARA has an exterior surface which faces the sun and the stars. But instead of being solid all the way to its core, the planet is hollow inside (see the diagram on page X). That interior is a world of its own—a world lit by a magical sun.
Two tubular polar openings allow access from MYSTARA's surface to the HOLLOW WORLD. Perpetually stormy weather (caused by the meeting of weather patterns from the two worlds' different climates), deadly cold, and an anti-magic effect that renders magical items and spells useless prevent most travellers from crossing through these openings.
Two other structural peculiarities distinguish MYSTARA from real-world planets. MYSTARA's Worldshield is a layer of super-dense molten lava within the planetary crust. It provides gravity for both the outer and the Hollow World. MYSTARA's Skyshield is a natural energy field that restrains the atmosphere to a fifteen-mile thick mantle over the outer and inner surfaces of the world. These phenomena are described more fully below.
MYSTARA is 6,190 miles in diameter. Its circumference at the equator is just over 19,400 miles. The planet's crust is about 1,200 miles thick, and its two tubular polar openings measure 1,500 miles in diameter at MYSTARA's outer surface. Their curvature toward the HOLLOW WORLD is so gradual as to be unnoticeable except from high in the air. The total surface area of the planet's outer world, minus the polar openings, is just over 105 million square miles. Water covers 60% of the planet's surface.
The interior diameter of MYSTARA is this 3,790 miles (measured from any point on the HOLLOW WORLD's surface through the centre of its floating sun and to the corresponding point on the opposite side of the HOLLOW WORLD). The interior circumference of the HOLLOW WORLD at the equator is 11,908 miles. The two polar openings are only 1,000 miles in diameter where they open into the HOLLOW WORLD. The HOLLOW WORLD has a surface area of just over 38 million miles (minus the two polar openings) and 70 percent of the world is covered by water.
Although MYSTARA is smaller than out earth—as well as being hollow—its gravity is the same. This is due to a layer of magical molten rock that runs through the centre of MYSTARA's crust. Called the Worldshield by the Immortals, this layer of lava produces a gravitational field that pulls things toward it from both sides. Thus, on the interior surface of the HOLLOW WORLD, "up" is towards the internal sun and "down" is towards the Worldshield.
Not all of the Worldshield is molten. The lava has hot spots and cool spots, and in some areas it's solidified. Natural tunnels and caves—and a few artificial passages and mines—can penetrate the Worldshield in these areas. There are even a few spots where the Worldshield remains solid all the way through MYSTARA's mantle. Tunnels through this solidifies lava can provide access between the HOLLOW WORLD and MYSTARA's outer surface. Gravity tends to work in strange ways in these areas, though. "Up" and "down" are erratic at best, shifting with the slow movements of the still-molten Worldshield that surrounds the cooler, solid areas.
The Worldshield is strongly anti-magical. Mortal magic generally does not work within three hundred miles of the lava layer. (There are fluctuations in this effect, but they tend to be localised and temporary.) This anti-magic effect extends across both polar openings in a band 600 miles thick.
In MYSTARA's Prime Material Plane, most worlds with atmospheres also have Skyshields. These natural bubbles of transparent energy make it difficult for anything—including air—to pass into the void that surrounds them. (There is no similar resistance to objects passing the other way, from space into the atmosphere.)
MYSTARA's Skyshield is about 80,000 feet up. Small objects—up to roughly horse-sized—can exit the Skyshield with little difficulty. Larger objects attempting to exit are slowly deflected as they get near.
Occasionally, the Skyshield temporarily develops a rip or tear. This may be caused by the passage of objects (meteors, for example) or by natural but unexplained fluctuations in the Skyshield's strength. Whenever a tear occurs, atmosphere escapes into the void with incredible force. The stream of air creates a freak tornado, known as a ripstorm, whirlhole, or Vortigern Vortex (after the Alphatian wizard who first studied the phenomenon).
In clear skies, these vortexes appear as shimmering, dancing funnels which extend up as far as the eye can see. In cloudy skies, they suck the clouds directly beneath the tear into a ferociously whirling spiral up to the edge of the atmosphere. Certain brave adventurers have learned how to ride these ripstorms up and out through the Skyshield.
Rips in the Skyshield are temporary and are not dangerous—except to objects caught in the whirling winds. The Skyshield repairs itself, "healing" 100 square feet of tear (a 10'×10' hole) each round.
MYSTARA's atmosphere blankets the surface of both the outer and inner worlds and extends up to 80,000 feet. Unlike atmospheres in the real universe, MYSTARA's atmosphere maintains the same pressure from sea level to the Skyshield. The oxygen level drops dramatically with altitude, however. Breathing becomes difficult at 15,000 feet and higher.
Characters above 15,000 feet (on a high mountain, riding a dragon, or whatever) are at a -2 to hit and damage rolls and on all saving throws and skill rolls. Above 20,000' altitude, oxygen-breathing characters and creatures begin to suffocate (see DMG Chapter 8, "Suffocation"). Special breathing gear, magical items, or spells such as create air and survival (created by Alphatian mages for use in their skyships) can help keep characters alive above 20,000 feet.
There is no atmosphere beyond the Skyshield—either around MYSTARA or within he HOLLOW WORLD. Unprotected characters caught in the airless void are considered to be holding their breath from the time they leave the atmosphere. Even if they can survive the lack of air, characters exposed to the void beyond MYSTARA for more than ten minutes must make a Fortitude save (see DMG Chapter 8, "Cold Dangers"). Within the HOLLOW WORLD, the void is merely pleasantly cool.
Two moons circle the world of MYSTARA, but most inhabitants of MYSTARA only know about one of them.
The known moon is called Matera. It is a lifeless, silvery, crater-marked satellite. Matera waxes and wanes in a predictable pattern, controls the tides, and is a boon to nighttime predators and an inspiration to lovers.
The unknown moon is called Patera by the Immortals. It is not well known to the mortals of Mystara because it is small, magical, and invisible. It is also inhabited (see the entry for Myoshima in the "Geographic Overview" later in this chapter).
This chapter details many nations of the Known World of MYSTARA, especially the eastern half of the continent of Brun, the western coast of Skothar and the Esterhold Peninsula. The major lands and cultures of the HOLLOW WORLD and SAVAGE COAST will be detailed in a later supplement.
Many entries include a "See Also" section that refers to related out-of-print supplements published for use with the classic D&D game. Although these products use the classic D&D rules, the information in them can be easily adapted to your d20 SYSTEM campaign.
Karameikos (Grand Duchy of)
Location: Continent of Brun, along the Sea of Dread, west of Thyatis.
Area: 46,750 sq. mi. Population: Total 400,000, plus humanoids. Humans 351,000: 15% Thyatian, 60% Traladaran, 25% mixed or other. Elves: 71,000 to 30,000 Callarii, 10,000 Vyalia. Dwarves, 3,000. Gnomes: 5,000. Halflings: 2,000. Humanoids: Unknown. Languages: Thyatian (official), Traladaran, Elfin (Callarii, Vyalia dialects). Coinage: Royal (gp), crona (sp), kopec (sp).
Government Type: Monarchy, allied with (and beholden to) Thyatis.
Industries: Logging, mining (gold and silver in the hills), agriculture.
Notable Sites: Placeholder.
Important Figures: Duke Stefan Karameikos (age, gender, race, class/level), Baron Desmond Kelvin (), Baron Sherlane Halaran (), Aleena Halaran (), Lady Penhaligon (), Baron Ludwig von Hendriks (), Bargle the Infamous (m h Wiz), Lady Adriana Karameikos (), Admiral Lucius Hyraksos (), Justin Karameikos (), Valen Karameikos ().
Flora and Fauna: Karameikos is well known for its animal and monster life; its forests are home to all sorts of forest creatures. Vampires and other forms of undead plague the land, as do lycanthropes.
See Also: GAZ1, The Grand Duchy of Karameikos; B1-9, In Search of Adventure.
This entry is intended to be inclusive from the Baronies out to Orc's Head. I'm not sure if the Arm of the Immortals should fit here or not--it's relatively minor. If anyone feels the need to expand this description to a full-page entry, be my guest!
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. Colonised over the centuries by the riff-raff of the Known 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 civilised, such as the rakasta of Bellayne or the lupins of Renardie. 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.
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 Known World, the SAVAGE COAST stretches almost 2,000 miles in length. Its southern shores lie against the Western Sea of Dread, while the west is blocked by Yalu Bay. To the east, the Great Waste separates the Savage Coast from the Known World. Finally, the north is bordered by the Yazak Steppes, home of the endless hordes of goblinoids.
Red Steel & the Red Curse
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 have 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 rumoured than once you are affected by the Red Curse, you cannot leave the SAVAGE COAST otherwise the curse will destroy you.
I'd like a full-page on Skothar. At a minimum it should give an overview of the continent and a few details about "known" areas like Minaea... If there is room, I wouldn't be opposed to filling in the rest of the continent with fan material (either M-Orient or Mentzer-map cultures)--the key here is to be vague. This area is not the focus of this book, nor do we want to contradict canon if it is avoidable--but at the same time, this is our world to do with as we please.
See the Davania entry, below, for an example of what I'm looking for.
Across the Sea of Dread lies the mighty, mysterious continent of Davania. Davania is the sole continent of Mystara's southern hemisphere. Its northern shores are covered with a lush, vibrant jungle teeming with life, both benign and deadly. Within these jungles are several clans of savages and barbarians, some humans, others not. Davania's northeastern tip is the area best known to the nations of the Known World.
Few people in the Known World know much of this southern continent. The Thyatians began colonising Davania's northernmost tip about 15 years ago; this area is now knows as the Hinterlands. The natives—tall, pale skinned, blonde warriors—have successfully resisted many Thyatian advances, but are gradually losing ground. Raven Scarp, once the meeting place of the Raven clan, is now a thriving Thyatian city serving as headquarters for the Thyatian military efforts on Davania. Some Hinterlanders, primarily of the Rhino and Raven clans, have adapted to life under Thyatian rule. Other Hinterlanders, especially the Jackal and Leopard clans, live as they always have in their jungle homes. Tribes attacked by Thyatian forces simply melt into the jungle growth and re-establish themselves elsewhere.
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 coast facing the Bellissarian Sea to the east, the Meghala Kimata Plains in the south and the Garganin Grasslands to the west.
Most of the Jungle Coast is unexplored, and no one is exactly sure what can be found in the vast new territory. Rumours abound of strange primitive cultures with wondrous monuments, such as crystal pyramids or deep sacrificial pits. The lands of the Jungle Coast are currently undergoing a mass colonisation by the Empire of Thyatis. The natives, however, are none too pleased, and many battles arise from the competition for territory and defending of homeland. Still, the advance of civilisation is steady, and there is much progress in the proper education of the locals.
West of the Jungle Coast is the region known to those of the Known World as the Serpent Coast. It is bounded to the north by the Sea of Dread, to the east by the Jungle Coast, to the west by the Serpent Strait and Yavdlom, and to the south by the Adakkian Mounts. It is here where the city-states or Kastelios and Garganin are located; perhaps the only true examples of civilisation outside the Thyatian colonies. The Serpent Coast region is a land of rolling hills, pleasant grasslands, mighty rivers, and rugged coasts. Though it lacks the raw brutality of many of the Jungle Coast's native inhabitants, the more sophisticated cities here can pose dangers well known in Brun, including those unheard of. Outside the fastness of the cities' walls, nature holds sway, and few know who dwells there.
If one were to follow the coast further south, one would find the Amalur Lowlands, a trackless expanse of jungle and swamp inhabited by reclusive tribes of lizard men and other creatures. It is whispered in the darker corners of the Serpent Coast and Yavdlom that deep within the wilderness lay the ruins of many ancient cities, their stones already weathered and crumbling long before the rise of Thyatis City or drowned Sundsvall. Few venture to this isolated part of Davania, cut off—mercifully, some veteran explorers say—from the eastern lands by the imposing Adakkian Mountains.
South of the Jungle Coast are the little-known Meghala Kimata Plains. In the north, the grasses are so tall and thick that one may easily get lost, never seeing the sun or civilisation again. Towards the south, many hundreds of miles away, the grasses wither away, being subsumed by the deadly Meghales Amosses Desert, which no one yet has crossed, and, it is said, holds many dangers beyond description. The great Meghalo Fithi River winds its way through the plains, and along its banks many mighty cities rear their walls. Rumours abound of imposing ruins scattered amongst the grasses, telling of a time when civilisation held northern Davania under its sway. Whether this is true or not, the plains beckon to all who have the courage to plunge into the interior, and behold what lies within.
Davania is a place where one can brave a new world, carve out territory to settle, and defend brave colonists from savage natives. If you enjoy exploration and the new frontier, Davania is open to you.
The Hollow World
The Immortals use the planet's interior as a sort of museum where animals and cultures at risk of extinction on the outer world can thrive. The Immortals cast a powerful enchantment called the Spell of Preservation over the interior world. This spell was designed to preserve intact all those cultures sent to the HOLLOW WORLD. It discourages changes in language, technology, and culture. It also affects the way magic works in the HOLLOW WORLD (see the next section).
A red sun hanging in the world's centre provides light in the HOLLOW WORLD. There is no night, only eternal noon. The internal sun keeps the HOLLOW WORLD in perpetual daylight. This affects the way HOLLOW WORLD inhabitants think of time. People sleep when they're tired and eat when they're hungry. Weather is also different in the HOLLOW WORLD: there are no seasons. Temperate lands are always mild, deserts are always hot, jungles are always warm and humid. But even without the forces that drive weather patterns on the outer world, the HOLLOW WORLD experiences storms. Once every few sleeps, a storm rolls over a given area, dropping lots of rain or snow.
Satellites ranging from boulders to worldlets the size of large islands orbit the sun, casting their shadows on the HOLLOW WORLD's surface. The movements of these Floating Continents help natives tell time. Some orbit in the airless Void; others orbit within the atmosphere. Many of these "floating continents" support life and may be populated by interesting life forms. Adventurers can find unusual civilisations on these satellites.
The directions of east and west are reversed from the outer world to match east on the outer world with east in the HOLLOW WORLD. For our purposes, east always means spinward—the direction the world rotates—while west means counter-spinward.
Magic in the HOLLOW WORLD
The Spell of Preservation and the Worldshield strongly influence magic in the HOLLOW WORLD. Not all spells work the way they do in the outer world. (If a spell does not work in the Hollow World, neither do magical items that simulate that spell.)
The types of spells, such as divination and instantaneous transportation, as well as lodestones, simply do not work in the HOLLOW WORLD. There are also many spells that do work in the HOLLOW WORLD, but are simply unknown to the native inhabitants. Immortal and artifact magic is not affected; Immortals can cast all spells normally. (Further details will be provided in an upcoming supplement.)
Norwold & the Wild North
This should be a combined spread (1 page each)... Canon material is a must... fanon material (GazF's for example) is highly encouraged--but fanon must not conflict with canon.
This should include all the other canon-described areas that don't have enough material for a full spread... Hule, Serpent Peninsula, Great Waste/Graakhalia, Sylvan Realm, etc.