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The wonderful book you now hold in your hands is the sixth in a series of rich volumes intent on describing the amazing world of Mystara.
Allow me to introduce myself to those who did not read last year's almanac. I am Belzamith Fingertackles, an illusionist of Highforge in the wonderful kingdom of Karameikos. Oh yes, before I forget: I'm also a gnome. I have several fascinating hobbies include poetry, tinkering, solving interesting mysteries, and political sciences. I am one of the few souls who truly enjoys discovering things that were previously hidden and searching for the truth behind what is always presented to us. I for one believe that there is much going on in this world that we should know about, but the powers behind the scenes keep hidden from us. Of course, those of you who read my preface last year probably already know all this.
Sadly, the release of the Almanac was delayed this year due to an unfortunate fire at Joshuan Gallidox Publishing. Still, no one was harmed, and only a bit of information was lost, so we can still present you with this Almanac, although a few months later that usual. For those of you who have been waiting impatiently for the release, we apologise.
Now, of course you must all be wondering what changes have been made to this year's Mystaran Almanac. Well, we still have our famous on-sight correspondents and letters to describe places and events. I firmly believe that such presentations make the descriptions all the more lively and interesting, giving the reader a better perspective on things, as well as insight on the people who present them to you. I continuously encourage our writers to dig more behind the scenes. Unfortunately, sometimes digging behind the scenes can be very dangerous and we cannot safely get all the information as to what is really going on. Despite this, the Mystaran Almanac is definitely the most precise and accurate account of last year's history that will ever be written.
The Mystaran Almanac is once more pleased to announce a live interview with one of the most talked about and important people of our time. This year, I must say, has one of my favourite interviews of all time!
As for changes, there is one I'm sure you'll notice. Since we are getting information from all around the world now, there is by far, way too much to write in the Known World section. This year, the Almanac has been divided into several parts, each representing a large fraction of our world. One deals with the Hollow World, another with the Savage Coast, and a third with the Old World. There are more, and I'm sure you'll agree with our divisions when you reach them.
Finally, we received mountains of letters and comments from you the reader, and have done our very best to fix all the mistakes you have pointed out, or add details that were left out, and so on. Again, thanks everyone for your comments!
Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the new and improved Mystaran Almanac, AC 1015 edition. It would also be my pleasure to hear from you, gentle readers, on your opinions of our presentation and content.
Belzamith Fingertackles, Co-Editor
Thaumont, AC 1016
To the reader
I'm Dorrik Stonecleaver, one of the two editors of the Mystaran Almanac. I'm a dwarf from Highforge, and used to be a caravan guard for several decades. I retired over a decade ago and wandered the world for a while.
I've always believed that one should get to the point, and therefore try to keep the gnome's babbling to a minimum. I don't like big texts and wasting breath, so I give the information that you really need. Numbers, dates, places. They give you what you want or need to know, quickly. I've therefore made sure to include exact dates, locations, populations, taxes, currency, and all the other small details meticulous people expect to find.
Once again, I would have loved to include descriptions of the military forces and their tactics as well, but most governments took a dim view at seeing such information published and made sure we didn't.
Anyway, I've said the important stuff, so it's time to start reading the Mystaran Almanac. If you have anything important to tell us, let us know. Make sure it's important, because with all our correspondents, we don't have time for useless letters. Also, speaking from last year's experience, most of you should learn to write in proper Thyatian before sending us any letters!
And to those of you responsible for burning down Joshuan Gallidox Publishing, I know who you are, so you better be expecting company!
Dorrik Stonecleaver, Co-Editor
Thaumont, AC 1016
First of all, who should read this material. That's simple. Anyone who has interest in the world of Mystara. Of course, some need a more specific answer than this. As such, all the Atlas Sections (of the Old World, Norwold,...) can be read by both Players and DMs of Mystara. The information given is general, usually common knowledge, and often slightly biased by the correspondents' point of view. Of course, this means that the information is not always 100% accurate, so players be warned: individual DMs might not accept the descriptions of any given place, changing it to suit their needs and campaign. And they're within their rights! After all, who said that the correspondent wasn't a complete fraud? DMs may want to limit the PCs' knowledge to just one area of Mystara (after all, why should someone from the Old World know anything about the Savage Coast?).
The Mystaran Miscellanea section is left to the DM's judgement as to whether or not his players know this information. As such, merchant PCs should have access to the Economica part, while superstitious PCs will probably know their horoscope.
The timeline section, dealing with events for the year of AC 1015 is for the DM's eyes only. It reveals certain secrets that players are just not meant to know unless they discover them the hard way. Of course, this only makes it easier for DMs to change any timeline event to match events that are occurring in their own world of Mystara.
The format used throughout the Mystaran Almanac is similar to the various previous Almanacs in this line. As such, each nation will have an entry which will give a brief summary of location, size, population, languages, coins, taxes, industries, and flora and fauna.
There is also a section which lists the names of important people at any given entry. The format is as follows:
Name (title or occupation, race, gender, class/level)
Class/level is presented in the form of a letter (or more) followed by a number, such as F6 or T12. The number indicates level, while the letter represents the class according to the following legend:
F = Fighter M = Mage Pa = Paladin M(ab) = Abjurer R = Ranger M(co) = Conjurer T = Thief M(di) = Diviner B = Bard M(en) = Enchanter C = Cleric M(il) = Illusionist P = Priest M(in) = Invoker P(dr) = Druid M(ne) = Necromancer P(cr) = Crusader M(tr) = Transmuter P(de) = Defender WD = Witch-Doctor P(mk) = Monk P(?) = other Speciality Priest
These letters will also be used in the Famous People section, as well as anywhere else where character classes are given.
Finally, a new section on Further Reading is also given. We strongly recommend purchasing all the wonderful books and adventurer modules on Mystara, as they truly give a much deeper understanding and description than this Almanac can ever give.
Nation descriptions will, as before, have a brief intro section from the correspondent, a section on the land and another on the people of the land. Now, many will have already heard these descriptions several times over. What do you expect? There are only so many ways to describe a given place and its cultures. In fact, entries which have been repeated from last or previous years might actually have paragraphs with the exact same text, word for word. We, the editors, saw no reason to change a description that is already accurate.
On the other hand, the section on recent events will be different each year. I would think this would be obvious.
Finally, the last sections give us a peek at places that are highly recommended, either to visit or avoid. For this section, we made an effort to have something new to talk about, since each nation probably has more Don't Miss sites that could possibly fit in this entire Almanac.