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Dear Reader

The wonderful book you now hold in your hands is the tenth 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 previous almanacs. 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 including poetry, tinkering, solving 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.

Those who own previous almanacs will notice that this year's edition is significantly smaller-we have tried to reduce the size of the almanac you are holding in your hands, as we received comments from our readers that the almanac was plain too big. We also tried to make it easier and more agreeable, by using a more readable font. The Mystaran Almanac has been divided again into three volumes for easier reading: Book I is the Atlas, Book II is the Events, and Book III is the Adventures.

The volume you are now holding is Book I: the Atlas.

Now, of course you must all be wondering what changes have been made to this year's Mystaran Almanac, that we brag about it. Well, we still have our famous on-site 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-some of our correspondents have actually disappeared, and I don't buy the theory that they had unfortunate accidents-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.

As for changes, there is one I'm sure you'll notice. This year, the almanac does not again repeat the same information you have certainly seen already in our previous editions, but focuses on what is truly new and thus of most interest to you, the reader. Surely, it means that the almanac does not contain a full-length description of every nation in the known world, but each one has an expedient, up-to-date summary, and if you want to read more about the nation in question you may simply refer to the wonderful in-character descriptions of previous almanacs. That way, you can read all descriptions in this almanac and be sure that they are not obsolete-although we always did our best not to reprint entries that were obsolete anyway-but never-seen-before takes on a new or old place by one of our dedicated correspondents!

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, and yet more thanks to those who, after getting their hands on an almanac, decided to volunteer as reporters and correspondents to bring us more news from every known corner of Mystara! We are always eager to reproduce fresh takes on well-known countries, or to hear about new ones!

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the new and improved Mystaran Almanac, AC 1019 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 of the Mystaran Almanac

Mirros, Karameikos

Nuwmont, AC 1019

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. That information is as concise as possible, and I hope accurate, for quick reference.

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 though we gathered a lot of data we knew some of it was inaccurate. I still hope such information, and others I'd like to include as well, will one day find its place in the almanac-it almost did this year, but we haven't finished sorting the truth from misleading information that was fed to us. I was finally able to convince the gnome to reduce the almanac's bulk, by cutting the repetitious babble from the previous almanacs, so things are back to a more reasonable length this year.

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 the previous years' experience, most of you should learn to write in proper Thyatian before sending letters!

Dorrik Stonecleaver, Co-Editor of the Mystaran Almanac

Mirros, Karameikos

Nuwmont, AC 1019