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Imperial Explorers!

by Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 11

Imperial Explorers!

by Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

A short list of the most famous Alphatian and Thyatian explorers, compiled in AY 2020 by Thiserstian of Alphatia, magician and scholar of the Imperial University.

Obviously the world of Mystara has many other famous explorers beside those that came from Thyatis or Alphatia. The Karameikan Claransa the Seer, who revealed the existence of the Hollow World to Outer Mystara comes immediately to mind. The Heldannic Knights, bitter enemies as they may be for us, have many famous explorers too, even if in most occasions they did not share their discoveries with the rest of the world. Neither did many Minrothaddan traders, who reached far away shores but kept the details about such sea lanes to themselves, to have a monopoly on the resulting trade. And the elves of Mystara obviously, as I have explained recently in a short treatise1, have roamed and explored during the centuries vast regions of Mystara. And I suppose dwarves, gnomes and other ancient races and cultures too have extensive records of their explorations. This short list however will focus only on the explorers which came from the two major empires of the Known World, Thyatis and Alphatia. The order in which they are presented should be chronological, based on the available informations.


An Alphatian wizard that reached the Gulf of Hule as early as AY 50 (BC 950) or even earlier, according to some incomplete reports. Most details of his life and fate have however been lost. Probably several more Alphatian wizards privately explored the new world in the early years, but, with quite typical Alphatian individualism, very few of them bothered to leave records for the general public.


Khendaras, Alinquin and other Alphatian explorers of the first years

Admiral, Khendaras was the first Alphatian to circumnavigate the Isle of Dawn and to leave a record of his expedition,The Periple, in AY 286 (BC 714). He was obviously not the only one in the first centuries of the Alphatian Empire. Aasla, Zarthurastram and Ar are so famous that is not necessary to speak of them here. Others, like Meriander and Horken, are legendary figures. So legendary indeed that I came to doubt of their true existence or at least of their true names.

As I will explain in another report2, I think most city names in Bellisaria, and the name of the island itself, have a Milenian origin, so either some of these supposed Alphatian explorers did not exist, or their true Alphatian names were quite different. I am more inclined to believe to the historical existence of Alinquin, as his seems indeed a true Alphatian name.


Alexis Vorbian

A Thyatian adventurer and later also a general who claimed to have travelled the whole world between AC 78 to AC 91 (AY 1078 to 1091). Notoriously, Haldemar of Haaken did not believe any of his claims, but he was the source of most of the geographical informations of the Known World for centuries anyway. His map and books may contain more truth than Haldemar believed.

Dragon Magazine issue #153

This article on Tome of Mystara issue #3 by Giulio Caroletti and James Ruhland:


An Alphatian mage and explorer who reached the lands of Borea in AY 1479 (AC 479). He also established a tenuous trade route between Alphatia and the northern port-city of Azure.


Don Sancho and other Ispan explorers of the Savage Coast

Even if they left permanently the Thyatian Empire to found new dominions in the far west, the Ispan explorers are worth mentioning, as they reached Yavdlom and beyond from 860 BC (AY 1860). The only individual name I was able to find however is Don Sancho Estaban de la Villa Florida.


Zyndryl of Aquas and the gnomes who preceded him

The King and founder of Aquas is certainly famous as an explorer of the seas around Alphatia. He was preceded by several gnomes who built the first aquatic vessels now in use in the undersea city. Zyndryl unfortunately perished in AY 2009 during the great earthquake, yet succeeded in saving his city from destruction.


Rory Barbarossa

Sometimes also spelled Barbarosa, he was the explorer of the Isle of Dread, the Straits of Dawn and other locations in the Western Sea between 965 and 970 AC (AY 1965 - 1970), the full biography of this captain is quite mysterious, as he could be a Thyatian of the Empire, a Thyatian of Karameikos or even a Ierendian of Thyatian origins. I was not even able to ascertain if he is still alive or has he died several years ago in a Traladaran port, as some rumors say. Another rumor say he was alive, in Davania, after 990 AC. He has been labeled either explorer, adventurer or pirate by different parties.


Haldemar of Haaken

The voyages of the Captain of the Princess Ark are extremely famous in the Empire, as he discovered the Hollow World in AY 1965 (AC 965), the invisible moon of Patera and extensively explored several locations of the Plane of Air and the mysterious continent of Davania. Official and unofficial accounts of his travels are bestsellers in Alphatia and the Captain is the center of any social gathering where he cares to show up. More recently, he extensively explored the Hollow World and its nations too.


Dragon Magazine, see this list:

Champions of Mystara Boxed set

See also:

About Haldemar’s explorations in the Hollow World see the Mystara Almanacs and here:

Dogrel, General Commander of Alphatia Neatharum

An important figure for the exploration of the Hollow World surface after Haldemar’s voyages, Dogrel participated in several expeditions on foot, magical means and flying ships, and financed several more. He was removed from his position in Klarmont 16, 1015 by Empress Eriadna, due to some confrontations with the local Neathar population, and is now back on the Alphatian mainland.


Azlum Swith

I am not even sure if I should include this wizard on the list. We know he built a magical airship in the shape of a crystalline geodome before AY 1968 (AC 968), and that he is apparently travelling around Mystara with it. Some says he is an Alphatian, some say he is a gnome. Others says he is Thyatian or Glantrian. Unless he eventually publish a book with his discoveries, or his arship is found, we may never know the truth about him.


Champions of Mystara

Leilah Ben Nadir and other Thyatian explorers of the Hinterlands

General Leilah ben Nadir is the military governor, now Exarcha of Davania Superior, that Emperor Thincol sent to the Hinterlands in 988 AC (AY 1988). She made personally some of the first explorations of the region, during successful military campaigns. Others explorers followed more recently, such as Marcus Cassius Aurestius and the Almanac correspondent Favonius Viator, who also (unwillingly) explored the undersea empire of Twaelar.


Theodorian Metothemius

Captain of a Thyatian expedition to Skothar that left in AY 2017 (AC 1017) according to the Mystaran Almanacs. Apparently not yet returned in AY 2020, last known position Minaea.

Obviously Minaea was previously explored by Alphatian sailors a long time ago, it seems indeed that the rulers of Leontion in Minaea descends from some Alphatian wizards who arrived there in AY 1353 (AC 353). Individual explorers probably reached the area even earlier, but their names are not widely known.


Julius Ambrosius

Captain of a Thyatian expedition to Davania that left the Hinterlands in AY 2017 (AC 1017) according to the Mystaran Almanacs. Apparently not yet returned in AY 2020, last known position in the far south of Davania, western Vulcania.


Paulus Angelinus

Captain of a Thyatian expedition to Yavdlom and the Savage Coast that left in AY 2017 (AC 1017) according to the Mystaran Almanacs. Apparently not yet returned in AY 2020, last known position the Free City of Dunwick in the far west of Brun.


1See The Elven Clans and their migrations by me in the previous issue of Threshold magazine.

2See “Lost Civilizations of Thyatis and Alphatia” in this issue of Threshold magazine.