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Mystara 3E - Chapter 1: Characters, Regions

by Roger LV Girtman II

Character Region
A character in the MYSTARA campaign is more than just a class and race. Your homeland determines in part your personality, your outlook, and what sort of abilities you have. In game terms, character regions encourage you to take a class relevant to that region's culture and allow you to learn special feats appropriate to your region based on the way people in that region live. Every character has the opportunity to choose a region during the character creation process.
"Region" is a broad term. In most cases, it refers to a political entity, such as the fighter-ruled empire of Thyatis. It might also refer to a geographical area that lacks a central government or well-defined borders, such as the barbarian lands of the Heldann Freeholds. Finally, a region can be defined as a racial cultural identity, such as that of the Shadowelves or Hin.
A character can only have one homeland, so you cannot get the regional benefits of both Thyatis and its neighbouring nation, Ylaruam. However, nonhuman characters are free to designate either their physical homeland or their racial culture as their character region, although they must be a member of a class listed for their race or homeland to select the corresponding regional feats and receive the bonus starting equipment. For example, Rolf the Dwarf might be from the city of Highforge in Karameikos, but he can choose either Dwarf (Rockborn) or Karameikos as his native region, and he gains the benefits for the region of his choice if he selects a character class listing the region he chooses as a preferred region.
Table 1-8: Character Regions lists all the regions available to characters from the Known World and describes automatic languages, bonus languages, and regional feats.
When reading Table 1-8: Character Regions, some of the regions are divided into smaller sub-regions. If a sub-region does not have any information listed for an entry, use the entry listed for the larger region instead, except for entries listed under Local Language. If a race does not have a local language, the character will not receive the language automatically, but may select it as a bonus language instead.
Languages: Unlike other worlds, MYSTARA doesn't have one language which is universally common to all people. Certain languages are quite widespread across vast regions, and act as a trade language for those areas. Trade common is always an automatic language.
Characters of exceptional Intelligence (12 or higher) begin with one bonus language per point of intelligence bonus. If a character's race does not automatically provide a local language, any language listed as local may still be selected as a bonus language.
In addition, characters can learn any language (except secret languages such as Druidic or Thieves' Cant) by spending skill points on the Speak Language skill, regardless of whether the language appears on this list.
Regional Feats: If you choose a home region preferred by your character class, you may select regional feats appropriate to that region. These feats represent the common sorts of talents that people from that region learn.
If you did not choose a character class preferred in your home region, you still receive the language options provided, however you cannot begin play with one of those regional feats. You are still limited by the number of feats available to your character based on class and race.

This is a sidebar

How Regional Feats Are Used
Regional feats are intended to represent a character's upbringing, his past before he began adventuring. Some regional feats may only be selected at first level, and then only if the character meets the regional and preferred class prerequisites.
As an option, some DMs, being of a generous and giving persuasion, might also encourage their players to select classes appropriate to their region's or race's culture by providing them with one extra regional feat at first level, in addition to the normal feats they get during character creation.
All NPCs in this volume and future supplements will be created with the assumption that this option is not utilised.

TABLE 18: CHARACTER REGIONS
Region

Alasiya

Alphatia

Aquarendi

Atruaghin

DreadSea

Dwarf

Elf

Esterhold

Freeholds

Glantri

Gnome

Hattias

Hin

Hinterlands

Hutaaka

Lupin

Modrigswerg

Northlands

Ochalea

PearlIslands

Rakasta

Shadowelf

Sind

Skygnome

Steppes

Thothia

Thyatis

Trade Lands

Traladaran

Wendar

*Darokinian, Glantrian, and Hattian are distinct accents of Thyatian. Anyone speaking one of these languages can understand all of them, but to mimic the accent requires the character to spend ranks in the Speak Language skill. Attempting to speak in another dialect without this skill provides a -2 circumstance penalty to Disguise checks.

Design Notes: I had a hard time figuring out which regions to use and how they were divided. I'm always open to new suggestions, but Mystara is so diverse that drawing lines on a map just wouldn't work... It was suggested to divide the regions by nation--but that wouldn't work because of the intra-national diversity--Glantri and Karameikos are prime examples.
In the end, I took that suggestion with a little tweak inspired by Estlor's feat work. Racial "regions" can include any member of the race, no matter where they are--or non-members who are from the race's homeland (a human from Rockhome). Most of the regions are divided nationally, with few exceptions. The all of the Northern Reaches and Heldann are combined to "Northlands".
Two special regions are "Trade Lands" and "Dread Sea". Trade lands consist of Darokin and Minrothad. Dread Sea is Ierendi and Minrothad.
In places where two (or more) regions overlap, the player must choose ONE.