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Mentzer Mystara

by Rodger Burns

This is more a thought exercise than anything else - a vision of what the D&D campaign world might've evolved into if Frank Mentzer's map in the Masters set had been accepted as given, rather than mostly disposed of when the Gazetteers and VotPA came along.

- Brun:
Empire of Thyatis - First founded a thousand years ago, this empire expanded to the north and west, as well onto the Davanian continent to the south, but soon fell into internal dissention and collapsed more than six hundred years ago. (The borders on the Mentzer map show the expanse of the Empire at its height; almost all mainland territories have since been lost.) Thyatis itself has been reformed as an imperial nation only within the last century, with the help of certain of the Four Kingdoms (see below) but is more concerned with opposing Alphatia than expanding into Brun once again.
Empire of Alphatia - This ancient empire claims only the island-continents of Alphatia and Bellissaria; its leaders are powerful, insular and mysterious. What almost no one realizes is that for thousands of years, the island was not named Alphatia at all, but instead Atlantis; the first civilization of mankind was founded here, and dominated the world for more than a millennium before being shattered in an apocalyptic war against Chaotic dragons and forces of Entropy in alliance. The Alphatian wizard-lords, when they fled the destruction of their homeworld, settled in among their old trading partners and soon came to dominate the resulting union of nations completely.
Isle of Dawn and Norwold - Frontier territories disputed between Thyatis and Alphatia, as per canon. Norwold has many dragons and faerie folk who are suspicious of all humankind, while the Isle of Dawn is home to many tribes of orcs, gnolls and ogres who have many deep and hidden traditions of shamanism, necromancy and blood magic.
Empire of Dorfin IV - A comparatively young nation, created by a dwarven warrior and king on the path of the Dynast (and also a terminal overachiever). Each of Dorfin I's three descendants has expanded the empire's physical borders eastward, but left the subject nations mostly alone to govern themselves. The Empire itself will likely not live out the current Emperor's lifetime.
Borea - This river valley is home to many ancient cities and alien ruins, inhabited by people who huddle in the shadows of powers they can barely even comprehend, let alone understand or use. Think Burroughs' John Carter of Mars stories, as well as Moorcock's Hawkmoon books and similar fiction.
Hyborea - Rugged arctic tundra, home to winter goblins and snow-dwelling beasts of all types.
Serpent Peninsula - Draws some canon from X6, but much more from adventures concerning buried lizardman cities, Hivebrood lairs, and similar 'Lost World' and fantasy horror tropes.
Southold - This is a melting-pot of many different races and ideals, most notably clans that have fled southward from the rule of the Empire of the Dorfins (see above) but including many other heroes and villains as well. Trust no one save yourself if you come here, and be ready for adventure.
Arm of God/the Immortals - This place was the first home to dragons on Mystara (or Urt, if that name's preferred for the planet) and has many secrets relating to their history, powers and nature. It's populated today be enduks, ee'aar, faenare, pegataurs and many other winged races who are mostly ignorant of its older history.

- Skothar
Empire of Tangor - Once one of the largest kingdoms in the world, this nation lost half its territory to the Great Khan some centuries back, and has been a comparatively minor power ever since. A Chinese-Tibetan style nation in the main, but probably drawing on other Highlands/borderlands cultures for attitude and philosophy as well.
Empire of the Great Khan - Yuan dynasty China, in most respects - combine the lowlands territories once part of Tangor with steppe nomad vigour, fierceness and barbarism. Starting to take a distinctly factional opinion over who should be the next ruler, as the last male descendant of the first Great Khan slips into senility.
Oceania - Small fishing city-states line the coast, each utterly forgettable (aside from the one hero every generation or so who rises to shake the world), while the interior is a Forbidden Zone, littered with ancient Atlantean ruins and demons locked in arcane prisons.
Minaea - Seafarers and rogues, with some of the Cretan tone that the culture's adopted in net.Almanacs. Control 'Esterhold' as well as the southwestern coast of Skothar, and alternately fight, trade with or deceive the Great Khan's governors.
Jen - The steppe nomads that the Great Khan originally came from, they held true to ancient traditions rather than invade and conquer the Tangorians. They are mostly herders and hunters, but have some magics that allow for floating yurts and moving settlements, providing all the benefits of cities while still keeping a nomadic lifestyle.
Thonia - No connection to Arneson; this land is an arctic wasteland on the surface, but below the frozen tundra are miles of volcanic tunnels, inhabited by a race of cave-adapted humans. Several kingdoms strive and trade with one another, never seeing the light of day.
Nentsun - The 'end of the world', home to M-Nordic and M-Finnish peoples and nations.
Xyzl - This tiny island is home to all the most notorious and despised villains in the world - the Black Archon, the Tongueless Sphinx, the One-Eyed King. Half-refuge, half-prison, its original purpose is somewhat uncertain and probably best left undiscovered.

- Davania
The Four Kingdoms - These nations were once provinces of the Empire of Thyatis, its main holdings in Davania; they kept their identity when the Empire collapsed, if not complete unity. They engage in politicking against one another, but have united in the past against common enemies. Recently, the largest and northernmost of the Kingdoms has acted to resurrect the Empire on the mainland, and 'sworn allegiance' to its Emperor; the other kingdoms try to preserve their independence, but the balance of power may be shifting...
Barbarians - Part Celtic/Germanic, part Zulu. The interior of their territories probably has something interesting and unknown to be discovered, tho I'm not yet sure of the specifics.
Cestia - This strange jungle-covered island is a place of dreams, illusions and uncertainty, where you can either be tempted by your wildest fantasy or terrorized by your deepest unspoken fears. Old magic and reckless, fey beings are the true power in this land, not the human tribesmen.
Arypt - This was once a powerful and vibrant Egyptian-like culture, but was corrupted by Entropy and undeath more than a thousand years ago. Today it's a wasteland of mostly desert, ruled over by mummy priests and lich-kings. (Nithia, rather than being on Brun and annihilated, was probably just one of the northernmost satrapies of Old Arypt.)
The Vulture Peninsula - The people of this land avoided the fate of Old Arypt only through an even more hideous measure - opening a permanent transposition between their territory and the alien Dimension of Nightmares. Such strange creatures as the diaboli, the spectral hounds, and the mysterious blackballs now regularly pass through this land, and those humans that dwell here are often nigh-insane.
Lower Arypt - These kingdoms are what survives of the old culture of Arypt, mostly free of necromancy and the taint of Entropy and hoping one land to rebuild their homes to the north. Suspicion, deception and backstabbing are endemic among the notables of this land, though, so any such reclamation is impossible save as a dream.
Akkadia - This is the oldest human civilization in the world, save lost Atlantis - a river-valley home to many city-states, which were united once under the rule of Sarigos the Great but have never since stood as one.
Brasol - This land is still young and something of an experiment, as giants live side-by-side by humans and seek to tame the mountains with a combination of muscle and strength joined with cunning and wizardry. The dangers are many and success is by no means certain.
Izonda - This nation is a theocracy, with a pantheistic, quasi-Hindu faith but also a strong presence of evangelists that seek to spread the Word to other lands. Primarily human, but with a strong elven and halfling presence as well; there's been a recent and unsettling trend towards racism among the country's highest clergy.
Matriarchy of Pelatan - An African/Ethiopian nation, functioning as traders in a loose confederacy of cities. Much of the nation's interior is semi-wilderness, but the armies of the joined cities are extremely fierce and loyal to their neighbours' well-being.
Vulcania - This broad land is the site of warfare among elemental powers - earth being strongest, but fire also capable and sometimes aided by air and even water against its foe. Battles are likely to be chaotic, multi-sided melees, and Prime life is inevitably crushed to ruin as the hosts shatter the very landscape over which they contend.

The Sea Kingdoms - The Outer Ocean is ten thousand miles wide at its narrowest point, and entire kingdoms exist on and beneath the waves - city-fleets of air breathers who catch fish, harvest edible kelp and engage in craftwork aboard their great vessels, but also huge nations of merfolk, tritons, shark-kin, kopru and more beneath the ocean waves.