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Mystara and the Spelljammer/Planescape paradigm

by Leroy Van Camp III

Here is my view, as used in my campaigns, of how Mystara fits into the Spelljammer and Planescape paradigm.

I should point out that I am not trying to be one hundred percent true to the information presented in Champions of Mystara (i.e. it's rules on space, and such). Instead, I am trying to fully integrate Mystara, while still maintaining what I believe to be it's charm.

I just want to stress that this is how _I_ run things, and is not a judgment on the stuff that others have posted.

Air Wizards, Space Ships, French Wizards, and You
One of the problems integrating Mystara fully into the Spelljammer and Planescape paradigm (SPP, from now on) is the large amount of cross-dimensional traffic. Three important examples of this are...

1) A technological space ship punched it's way through from another dimension and crashed landed on Mystara, leading to significant changes in the world.

2) After the war with the Fire Wizards, the Alphatian Air Wizards left their destroyed homeworld and travelled through into another dimension, ending up on Mystara.

3) The d'Ambrevilles and McGregors fled from persecution on an alternate Earth, into another dimension.

Obviously, this doesn't fit in well with the SPP. As far as Planescape seems to be concerned, there is only one Prime. So, my solution is this...
I have introduced a new concept in planes, called a dimension. A dimension is, basically, a macro-plane, of which a planar system is "contained" in. So, Planescape's multiverse makes up its own dimension. And, just like its individual planes are part of a bigger whole, so is the multiverse. And, the way these dimensions are set up can vary quite a bit.
What this does is to allow Mystara to be integrated into the SPP with little change. The above mentioned examples remain unaltered, yet they can interact with SJ and PS elements.
In my campaign, I say that the barrier between dimensions is particularly weak in Mystaraspace, which is why there is so much cross dimensional traffic.

The Mystara/D&D Planar Paradigm
Although they bear certain similarities, there are some major differences between PS and D&D planar paradigms. The main being that D&D has no organized Outer Planes.
For me, the answer was simple. Scrap the D&D version, and use PS. It's not really that big of a step, IMHO.

Immortals vs. Gods
One of the major differences between Mystara and AD&D settings are the Immortals. Although similar in power levels, Immortals are not gods. With a few exceptions, they are individuals who rose to Immortality because of their deeds and determination.
So, why is it that people can become Immortals in Mystaraspace, but not other crystal spheres? My answer is... The Old Ones.
As discussed in the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set, The Old Ones (TOO) are an enigmatic group of people/gods/things that watch over Mystara, and the Immortals. TOO are more powerful than even Greater Gods, and created the first Immortals. Although it is other Immortals who lead mortals to Immortality as patrons, it is TOO that grant them this power. This is not known to anyone, even most Immortals.
Why do they do this? Well, they are basically looking for candidates to join them. As described in WotI, some Immortals have been know to be drawn into the Vortex, thought to be the home of TOO. Many Immortals believe they are made into Old Ones, and in my campaign, they are right. Why they do this is unknown.
Why do TOO only do this in Mystaraspace? Well, remember the weakened dimensional barrier? TOO are from another dimension. They cannot enter other spheres because the barriers there are full strength.
There are several Immortals who have the names of other Gods, and this causes some problems. For example, there is an Immortal Thor, who gained his status in the normal, Immortal fashion: he earned it. Although he is the Immortal Odin's right hand man, he is not his son, or even related. But, there is also the god Thor, who is the son of the god Odin. This can cause some problems. To be honest, I haven't come up with a solid explanation, but here is my working theory...
When The Old Ones decided to create the first Immortals, they felt it would be easier to start with something that was already powerful. So, through various means, they tricked several gods to send one of their avatars to Mystaraspace. Once there, they took these over, and imbued them with Immortality. But they didn't completely wipe their identities away, so they retained their names and personalities.
Now, whenever an avatar wanders into Mystaraspace, they nab it, erase most of it's memory, subdue their power, then put them on Mystara, to see what they do. Some of them, like Thor, eventually rise to Immortality.
Integrating Immortals into the SPP, they become full members of the divine community. That is, they have their own realms in the Outer Planes, where their petitioners go to upon death. They have proxies, like other gods. Although their origins are different, I consider them to be gods, for all intents and purposes.
The relationship between gods and Immortals varies. Many gods feel that the Immortals are upstarts, and sneer at the idea of mortals reaching their status. Some, though, are fascinated by them, and are on good terms. Some just don't care.

More thoughts on Mystara/Spelljammer/Planescape interaction

by Estlor

Alright, I was intrigued by Mr. Van Camp III's posting way back when about Spelljammer and Planescape interaction with Mystara (and I cut to the point and go only to Mystara). Here's my take, and some of his included.

1.) Mystara exists on a separate and infinitely expanding dimension in reality, parallel to all other dimensions. Each dimension is not unlike a sphere, radiating outward until it reaches, but does not touch, another dimension sphere.

However, in Mystara's case, it has accidentally be "touched" by other spheres. With powerful magics, sorcerers and gods can cause a temporary path to join two spheres at one or more points. This has been known to occur in two (perhaps more) separate occasions (specifically when the d'Ambrevilles, the Klantyres, and Malachie Du Marais came from the dimension of Myths, and when the Beagle accidentally warped into Mystara's dimension).

These gates, known as Dimensional Wormholes, do not remain long due to the Old Ones, who dwell in Mystara's dimension and assure its security, who close them when discovered.

2.) Mystara contains its equivalent of all the other locations (Astral, Ethereal, Prime, Elemental, Quasi/Para-Elemental, and Outer Planes), though they are not all exact replicas. Mystara's Outer Planes are not neatly organised into alignment planes. There are many outer planes, including the Old Alphatia and Vortex Planes.

3.) Mystara has no gods. Thus, they have no specialty priests (and I mean no. Priests of Immortals are called clerics, priests of ethos are called Philosophers). However, they have Immortals that are named the same as gods (In my campaign, this includes Thor, Odin, Demogorgon, Garal Glittergold, and Tiamat).

This is explained much like Mr. Van Camp III did. Occasionally, gods sort to claim Mystara's dimension, since it is the only without gods. They sent their avatars into the dimension, however the Old Ones spotted them in time, and stripped them of their god-like abilities and memory, placing them in the appropriate cultures (Thor in the Northern Reaches), leaving them only with enough memory to have a need for Immortality and to choose their former names. In this way, Mystara grew stronger in case other gods would start a battle between the two types of beings.

Note: However, I did mention Tiamat, who I use as the agent of the gods, trying to upset the balance. She slipped in unnoticed, and immediately developed an Immortal identity. Along with her come three non-native dragon types (yellow, shadow, dracolich), but that's another posting : ).

4.) There are five known dimensions that can be interacted with for creative DMs. For ease, I have given them simple names:

OD&D Dimension: This is the dimension Mystara is from. It's Prime Plane mirrors the Milky Way of Earth, with subtle differences.

AD&D Dimension: This is the dimension in which the planets Krynn, Toril, Oerth, and any other AD&D setting (Birthright, Lankhmar) are from. Spelljammer and Planescape are here.

Dimension of Myths: This dimension is mentioned in the Wrath of the Immortals as being like Earth of myths. It is the home of the house Sylaire, Klantyre, and Malachie Du Marais.

Real World: This is our dimension. If you recall, it was visited by Immortals in the Immortal Storm OD&D adventure module (IM1 I think???).

I don't have either Planescape or Spelljammer, so this is basically my guess at it. If I had to say what the layout of the dimensions are, I think this is probable:

         ----         ----       ----
     ----    ---- ----    ----  |    |
    |            |            | |    | 
    |   Myths    |    OD&D    | /     \
     ----    ---- ----    ----/   AD&D \
         ----         ----    \    /|   |
                  ----    ---- \ /  |   |
                 |     Real   |      ---
                 |    World   |
                  ----    ----