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DRAGON and DUNGEON Magazine Staff and Writers

Here's some more stuff for the Q&A page. If anybody knows of other Mystara-related threads with official responses on the Paizo boards or the MMB, let me know.

ERIC MONA (Editor-in-Chief Dragon and Dungeon Magazines, abbreviated EM), MIKE MCARTOR (Associate Editor Dragon Magazine, abbreviated MMcA), and JAMES JACOBS (Editor-in-Chief Dungeon Magazine, abbreviated JJ), plus any comments from any of the writers of the Mystara-relevant articles - compiled from the Paizo and MMB forums through Sep 5, 2006.

"Collecting the Voyage of the Princess Ark" Paizo Thread:

(Relegate the OD&D stuff to an appendix if you want, that's fine, but my main reason for wanting it is to get the stuff they didn't reprint in Champions of Mystara.) If it doesn't include the whole original, well, I've already got a half-assed version, I don't really need another.

MMcA: So, having never actually compared the two (because I left my CoM in its original shrinkwrap), how much of the "Voyage of the Princess Ark" series didn't make it into Champions of Mystara?

(Hey look, you're hearing from someone at Paizo!) ;D
EM: I applaud the enthusiasm of this thread, but I feel a reality check is in order.

If the Shackled City and Dragon Compendium hardcovers are a success (as we expect them to be), it is not outside the realm of possibility that we might work with Wizards to provide more hardcovers featuring classic material culled from the pages of the magazine.

The Voyage of the Princess Ark does indeed make an intriguing possibility, and will definitely be investigated if and when that time comes.

But there is simply no chance that the book would feature any rules system other than the current version of D&D, which is to say 3.5.

Printing an RPG hardcover is not an enterprise to be entered into lightly. Margins are razor thin and the market is absolutely tiny.

Best case scenario, I'd predict that a compiled Princess Ark hardcover would sell about 10,000 copies. That number would drop to fewer than 5,000 if the book were not in color, and would drop to at least half that if it did not feature fully integrated support for 3.5 DMs.

I reserve the right to revise that estimate up our down, perhaps drastically, once I see what kind of a splash the already announced hardcovers make.

Make no mistake. The long-time fans of Mystara who would view this book as a sort of rebirth of their beloved campaign setting would be in the vast minority of the total number of people who would buy this book.

It does not make business sense to cater to the specific needs of this constituancy, especially insofar as marginalizing the current rules for a set more than a decade out of print.

My impression was that the Princess Ark articles were a lot of fun. I love the format, and wish I could swipe it wholesale for the magazine today. I still might. I likewise have a soft spot in my heart for Mystara (or, if you prefer, the "Known World"), so please don't take my statements as a condemnation of the column or the setting, both of which I greatly respect.

If you want the original articles exactly as they originally appeared, I strongly suggest tracking down a copy of the Dragon CD-ROM.

There is no way, I repeat, no way to do a straight reprint in OD&D with the original art and make a dime on the book. It would surely result in a huge loss, though it would make a small number of fans very, very happy to be sure.

To make something like this profitable, which is to say to make it happen at all, you'd need to bring _a lot_ of new people to the table.

That means Mystara fans, of course, but it also means people who have never heard of Mystara, or people who have never heard of the Princess Ark, but who think that the setting sounds like a neat idea.

And you're only going to get them if the book uses the latest version of the game, because they're not going to go back to an out of print rules system for just one book, no matter how cool it might be.
EM: I should point out that a simple PDF collection of all the articles, completely unchanged, is actually quite likely. The above post reflects only my feelings on an actual Princess Ark book.
(Added by Sean K. Reyolds, former WotC Designer): I coulda sworn that when I was TSR webmaster, the VotPA articles were some of the classic articles we were putting on the website for free.

I have no idea where those articles are now that Paizo is a separate company and the WotC website has shifted most of its closed-worlds content to fan websites, but I remember reading through scans of those articles for typos and such.
"Dragon Issue #327" Paizo Thread:

I also gotta say that Winning Races Diaboli is the best ya'll put out yet. The art was good and the concept too. Can't wait to use them.

MMcA: Thanks! It was a lot of fun to write. I was glad Erik allowed me to reference the Far Realm in anticipation of our big Far Realm article in #330. :)
"The Isle of Dread" Paizo Thread:

My only question is why was there no update of the Phanatons?

JJ: We kind of ran out of room when it came to detailing some of the new monsters that lurk on the Isle of Dread, but chances are fairly good that'll be addressed sometime soon...
"X1: Isle of Dread in 3.5" Paizo Thread:

JJ: Savage Tide will actually be an update of Isle of Dread, spread out over the four adventures that take place there during the campaign. The original was more of a setting than an adventure, in any case, and fans of the original X1 will certainly see a lot of familiar locations during the course of Savage Tide.
"Mystara Adventures" Paizo Thread:

"Stealing" the IoD from Mystara is one of the few decisions that I don't support the Dungeon staff in. Greyhawk is my all-time favorite, but even I recognize that Mystata deserves more respect than that.

EM: We didn't "steal" the Isle of Dread from Mystara. I assume there is still a Mystara, and that that Mystara has an Isle of Dread upon it.

Oerth and Mystara have a complex relationship. Both worlds have a Keep on the Borderlands, and both worlds have a Blackmoor.

Now, they both have Isles of Dread.
"just got dungeon #114" MMB Thread:

One thing I did notice though; they changed the names of two of the clans for some reason. The original were-elk,hawk,tiger and sea turtle. Now they're-ape,tiger,boar and sea turtle. Not sure if there is a rationale or if it was just change for the sake of change. Minor point I know, but something I noticed.

MMcA: There was indeed a rationale. I overheard Erik and James talking about just this thing (okay, so I would eavesdrop whenever they started talking about "Torrents of Dread" or simply used the word "dread" in a conversation). ;)
The original Isle of Dread is set in an archipeligo down in the tropics of the Known World. Now, while there might be the occasional hawk that lives in the tropics of our own planet, there generally aren't elk. Elk being more of a cooler-climate animal, that naming reference seemed more than a little out of place in the tropics. So the good gents at Dungeon decided to make the clans climate-consistant and gave them the names as they appear in issue #114.
So there you go. For the sake of verisimilitude were the names changed. :)
"Red Steel" MMB Thread:

(Frank Brunner, author of the Red Steel Dragon magazine article):

In case you haven't seen issue 315 of Dragon yet, it contains an updated rules set for 3.5 Red Steel. The new rules cover red steel, cinnabryl, the Red Curse, Legacies, and of course everybody's favorite Savage Coast race, the tortles.

I wrote the article, so I'd love to hear what you think of it. I tried to stay quite true to both the boxed set and the original Voyage of the Princess Ark series of articles in Dragon. Since I myself haven't seen the issue yet (subscription delivery seems to be delayed somehow...), I don't know if this piece made it into the article, but I did include a section on the publishing history of the setting.

Let me know what you think.
Frank Brunner

It'a very good thing that articles about Mystara (not just Savage Coast but Hollow world too, afaik) reappear in Dragon. I hope the issue sell so much that there'll be another similar soon

FB: I hope it sells well too. And I completely agree that Dragon should feature more articles in the future covering Mystara, Red Steel and the Savage Coast, Hollow World, etc. One of the things that can distinguish Paizo and WOTC from other d20 publishers is their access to all that grand old TSR intellectual property; they should use it often.

I'm sitting here with Dragon 315 in front of me and the formatting at the bottom of the leagcies table is slightly off. The 20th legacy Pyric Brand and it's power are tacked on to the end of the 19th legacies power.

FB: Yep, I just received my issue too and the formatting did get messed up there. That's unfortunate. Not the worst thing, though. People will figure out how it is supposed to be.

Glad you liked the article!

I have to say I love Cara Mitten's picture of the tortle. I didn't know who Cara Mitten was, so I just went and googled her to find her site. Here's a plug: Thanks for the great picture, Cara!

Thanks for the contribution Frank. Overall I liked it. There were some questions that Herve had brought up on the mailing list which I will repeat here:

Any reason why you did not make an Inheritor a prestige class?

Space limitations. PrClasses take a lot of room. Also, I felt that the the feat mechanic was a good match with the old rules. The signature ability of the Inheritor was to gain a new legacy every three levels, 1, 3, 6, 9 etc., and that fits nicely with the 3e feat rules.

You gave afflicted two legacies while the original rules gave only one, did you feel one legacy did not balance out the negative of the affliction?

Yes, although my original afflicted template had greater abilitiy score penalties. I'm sure it was a balancing decision by the editors.

Basically, you can either say that a) Affliction is just this huge detriment that makes the creature a weak object of pity or scorn, or b) Affliction is a horrible twisting that harms the creature but also makes it a dangerous, unpredictable opponent (or a hideous but still competent ally). I liked the second option better, so I added the extra legacy, nat. armor, etc. I hope it's a small enough embellishment that it keeps the flavor and spirit of the original rules while making the campaign even more interesting.

The intelligence of 3 requirement to be affected by the Red Curse eliminates animals who were affected under 2E rules. Was this to prevent certain 3rd Edition monsters from getting it?

Yes. I thought Nithian Whispers and Amber Sharpness, in particular, would be odd Legacies for an animal to have. In the end, though, I like the flavor of animals having the Red Curse too. I don't see any problem with including it. (Although there is the whole 'Ixion cursed those who intentionally sought power in the region' argument, because how does an animal intentionally seek power? But this problem was present in the 2e rules as well.)

The article mentions no known cure for the affliction, did you have to cut the 2E cure for space limitations?


The article wasn't clear on the adverse effects of inheritors becoming afflicted, did you have specific rules for that?
Do you mean beyond the doubling of ability score penalties when acquiring the afflicted template if you're an Inheritor? Honestly, that is the only adverse effect of becoming an afflicted Inheritor that I had room to include, and it is mentioned in the article twice on p. 71 (under Abilities at the top of column one and at the bottom flowing into the top of column two). Granted, this is not as significant a penalty as it was in my original version (which had steeper ability penalties for afflicted). This was no doubt a balancing change by the editors. It still is not very far off from my original, and I think it works quite well enough.

Let me know what other questions you have. I don't see the mailing list, but I do watch here and EN World regularly. If there had been more room, I would have loved to include a few more races (lupin, rakasta), more legacies, more political info on the Savage Baronies and Herath... Hm, maybe a sequel article if Dragon decides to do a Campaign Classics 2 issue. Given the popularity of 315, that seems like a great idea!

Finally got my hands on issue 315, and... wow.

The Red Steel article is some pretty good writing... and good editing, if the article is as big as some of the ones mentioned in the Editorial. Kudos all around, and let's keep pushing the Dragon editors for another round of "classics" in another six-to-twelve months.

While I was at first a bit puzzled as to why the Inheritor was a feat, rather than a PrClass, I can easily see now how your method works within the 3/3.5ed rule scheme. Its all good, since I don't use Prestige classes, anyway.

Glad you liked the article. One of the nice things about Inheritor being a feat is that it allows for many different sorts of Inheritors. A sorcerer can become an Inheritor, an Order of the Bow Initiate can become an Inheritor, as can a Blackguard, a Paladin, etc. If it were a Prestige Class, there would be more restrictions (prerequisites) on who could become an Inheritor. Not that the Prestige Class would force everyone to be the dreaded "cookie-cutter" copy of each other, but it would be a bit more restrictive and preclude taking some levels in other classes.

I sincerely hope they use more of your Red Steel material in the future. Can you give us any hints about any of the material got snipped for space reasons?

Like you said, the editors did a good job. All of the core mechanics that were in my original manuscript made it into the magazine. The one exception, I suppose, would be the rules for panache points. But that's ok, because basically you can just use the Action Point system from d20 Modern or the upcoming Eberron setting to duplicate panache. (Personally in my own campaign we don't use panache.) If there had been more room, maybe lupins, rakasta, and more legacies could have been included. Fighting schools and secret passes would be great too, although they would almost be an article in and of themselves (and in fact they were, IIRC way back in a 1995 Dragon article or so).
"Lupins in Dragon #325...Opinions?" MMB Thread:

MMcA: I'm eager to hear what y'all think about the 3.5 lupin as presented in Dragon #325?

I'm not sure, but I think Lupins were first introduced in X? Castle Amber set in Glantri and was then included in the original Creature Catalogue (AC9, not the red one).

MMcA: Your memory serves you well. As mentioned in a sidebar in the article, lupins first appeared in X2: Castle Amber (only one of the many reasons to check out that awesome adventure).

Unfortunately, I cant give you the numbers of the Dragon Issues I mentioned here, but you should be able to find that information on the Vaults.

MMcA: Dragon #237 has one of the lupin articles, but I can't recall off the top of my head where the other is. Once you find out (from checking the Vaults), you can head on over to to pick up those issues. :)

(a poster added): ...or better yet buy the Dragon CD issues 1 to 250, wonderful. By the way Mike, or anyone that knows, I heard rumours at one stage of a similar product for Dungeon. Is that the case or not? I'm still looking for a copy of issue 6 for Tortles of the Purple Sage part 1 at a reasonable price.

MMcA: I hadn't heard of this, but because of certain legal issues that arose with the release of the Dragon CD collection, it's highly unlikely that a Dungeon CD (or even a follow-up Dragon CD) will ever see the light of day. No, I can't say any more than that. Nothing is impossible, of course, but new CDs probably have as much chance of seeing print as I do of winning the lottery. ;)

Not sure, but one guess would be that Dungeon would own the rights as long as they are produced in a certain format. The problem being that a CD Archive would be a different format, and thus problems. Thats only my guess though, perhaps Mikey can clarify things?

MMcA: I'd like to, but I'll just attribute it to sloppy lawyerin' and leave it at that. ;)

I liked the Lupin 3.5 stats. They were pretty close to my own conversion for 3.0. I liked them so much in fact, I will probably delete my conversion in favor of this one. I thought it was a much better job than had been done on the Tortle a few issues ago.

MMcA: That's the benefit of having a fan of the setting and creature doing the update. :)

Don't have my issue yet, but I flipped through it on the stands and from what I saw, it looked pretty good. Got more back to the "original" Lupin (from X2 and the Creature Catalog) than the "enhanced Lupin" from Savage Coast/Dragon 237. Those versions just added way too much "stuff" to the Lupin, for my tastes. All the "see ethereal, smell everything, roar, bite, etc." just went over the top- same with all the Rakasta add-on's of later development.

MMcA: Glad you liked the return to basics approach I took to the article--my first draft (which no, I don't have) was steeped in Mystara-isms and split the lupin community into nomads and Renardois lupins. We (Matthew Sernett and I) talked about that and decided we needed a more generic version of the race to make them appeal to more players and DMs. Thus the more generalized version that appears in Dragon. :)

I really liked all of Bruce's "breeds" of Lupins when I first read that article, but more and more over the years I have grown to dislike the idea of "sub-races"- no wood elves/gray elves/high elves/etc. for me! So that's why I was glad to see the Lupin article just boil them down to one "main" race. (Looking at that original Dragon article, it would be very easy to create feats and things to represent the different breeds of Lupin. And except for two breeds- which are small creatures, rather than medium- there is no reason to create any sub-races.)

MMcA: I never liked the lupin or rakastan breeds so there was no chance they were going to make it into the article. ;) I like your feats idea, though. Hopefully something like that will appear in the Vaults.

That being said, I do have one question for the author. Why did you decide to make the Lupins Monstrous Humanoids rather than Humanoids? It's kind of an arbitrary thing, admittedly (and I've gone back and forth on it myself). In the end, I decided to make them Humanoids for one reason- that being that the Monstrous Manual labeled Gnolls as Humanoid (Gnoll) rather than Monstrous Humanoid. I think the Gnoll probably should be a Monstrous Humanoid (from the picture, and its legs, it looks even more "monstrous" than the merely furry and dog-headed Lupin), but since the core has it as humanoid, that's the label I gave to the Lupin as well.

MMcA: This would be another result of the discussion Matthew Sernett and I had regardin the lupins. It's sort of a balance issue and sort of a magazine needs issue. The balance comes in that the scent ability is too good to give a player character race (hence the lupin's lesser scent ability) but that the lupins really didn't have a lot else going for them. They're basically humans with dog heads and some doglike personality traits, but we didn't want to give them human racial abilities like skill points or bonus feats. We settled on making t hem monstrous humanoids, which gives them darkvision and makes them immune to like four spells in the game (charm person, dominate person, enlarge person, and hold person). It's not a huge bump, but it certainly might come in handy in certain fights. The magazine needs part is that we sorta wanted to try to do a Winning Races article for all of the different monster types (humanoid, monstrous humanoid, giant, and so on) and so we needed a monstrous humanoid. I should point out that we're no longer looking to do this, as we later realized that such a task is nearly impossible.

Just curious as to your reasoning, though I suspect it's similar to my own. Not a complaint. (The complaint would be the arbitrary rankings established by the core materials- isn't a "Giant" really just a big Humanoid?)

MMcA: Yeah, I'm glad they got rid of the silly beast type. ;)

I really liked the aproach of no stats modifiers! Why not a natural attack?
As general overview, great job i'll use them! thanks!!
I look forward for the remaning races...

MMcA: Thanks. I specifically wanted to avoid using racial ability score modifiers because I see them, from a designer's perspective, as a crutch. They're something that can be tacked onto a race when you've got no other ideas for it, which to me (as it was to Matt Sernett) is lame and is why we put in our Writers Guidelines not to do it.

We played with the idea of a natural attack, but now I can't remember why we didn't do it. Balance? Not in the original? Oh I just don't recall. Sorry.

Since Erik Mona has mentioned it on other message boards I guess it's okay for me to mention here. The next Mystara race to get a 3.5 Mike McArtor update will be the diaboli. Talk about a fun race to write up. :)

If you keep making Mystara stuff Mikey, I'll probably have to get a subscription in order.

MMcA: I'll see what I can do. ;)

[b]I am curious to how the whole Nightmare Dimension fits into the 3e cosmology, or are we doing a Demiplane thing again?[b]

MMcA: Not sure I can answer that, actually. All I can say is there are sidebars... :cool:

Do you know what issue this article will appear in yet? Do you have other goodies in store for us? :)

MMcA: Issue #327.

As far as other goodies go...none in the immediate future, but one never knows when I'll be able to sneak in a Known World reference here or there. ;)
"Looking for advice on writing a monster article for Dragon" MMB Thread:

Hi! I'm going to be writing an article (hopefully more than one) for Dragon/Dungeon magazine's new "Creature Catalog" feature.

I was looking for ideas on themes for such an article. What regions, organizations, secret places, etc do you think would make the best basis for an article focusing on monsters associated with said item?

MMcA: Are you planning on writing your Creature Catalog article on Mystara/Known World monsters? If so, you have my support! :D
"Diaboli article in Dragon 327" MMB Thread:

It was interesting that even thought they have a natural, poison attack with their tails, they didn't have an ECL adjustment. I don't think they need one, but it seems that usually when a creature has a natural attack they seem to get an automatic ECL adjustment.

MMcA: This is something we fretted about as well. In the end, Wizards of the Coast approved it as a +0 ECL so we ran with it. ;)

I enjoyed the way the demiplane of nightmares was fit into the current view of 3e cosmology - sandwiched between the Region of Dreams and the Far Realm. I had a similar thought when I read the Manual of the Planes, so it was neat to see that someone else had the same idea.

MMcA: Great minds think alike!

(The sidebar made me want to see an article on the Neh-thalggu in D&D - I've always thought that these guys were some of the creepiest D&D creatures).

MMcA: That sounds like a cool idea; I'd like to see that article too. :)

Overall, I thought the article was quite fun. I plan on working a group of diaboli adventurers into one of my games sometime in the future - perhaps during the revamped "Castle Amber" adventure I'm running this month. I enjoyed the lupin article too and I hope to see some more Mystara-related race articles in the future. Mystara always seemed to have the best non-human, non-typical D&D races to play with, so seeing them show up here is fun.

MMcA: Let us know how the diaboli adventurers work out for you. My quest to bring more Known World goodness to Dragon continues unabated. ;)

I liked the piece quite a bit- some minor quibbles with it, but those stem from my own interpretation of Mystara cosmology as opposed to the cosmology presented, so naturally they will differ.

MMcA: Quibble away, good sir. Quibble away. I can't hope to make sure Mystara stuff in the magazine appeals to Mystara's fans unless I hear from y'all what you like and dislike. :)

The one thing I was curious about, though, Mike, is what prompted you to have sorcerer as the favored class for the diaboli? The way they were always presented, to me, was that they were the human equivalent in the Nightmare realm, and should thus have "Any" as a favored class.

MMcA: In my original writeup they did have "Any" as a favored class. For balance reasons (we didn't want to make them ECL +1) we had to knock that down to a single class. Having a natural attack, darkvision, a few other goodies and favored class "Any" would make them too good for ECL +0. Right now they are at the upper limit of what an ECL +0 race should be. It would not be unbalanced to house-rule a diaboli variant that grants them favored class "Any" in exchange for ECL +1, but that's up to you as the DM.

We ended up going with sorcerer because it's a class that leans toward chaos and diaboli just seem to have an affinity for magic.
"Known World (Mystara) Easter Egg Hunt" Paizo Thread:

Thought it might be fun to have a thread noting any Mystaran easter eggs folks find in the AP. Let's note the item and not the location so others can look for it. I'll start us off with a fine elven perfume from Alfheim...

JJ: And I'm getting a kick out of this thread, by the way. There's still a few more easter eggs hidden in "There Is No Honor" that haven't been noticed yet (and some that'll probably only be noticed by a few of my friends... I named about four characters in there after my own characters).

In any event, the number of easter eggs increases DRAMATICALLY in the next adventure... "The Bullywug Gambit" might actually have the most easter eggs I've ever seen crammed into a Dungeon adventure, to tell the truth. It's great!

James, are the remaining ones Mystara-related or just general easter eggs? I probably won't notice any obscure GH references, and few if any from FR.

JJ: The BIG Mystara egg is the rhagodessa, of coruse (I suppose the Isle of Dread's an even bigger one...). I believe that the rest are mostly Greyhawk references or references to other Dungeon adventures.

Hey, just found another Mystara easter egg, and I'm betting it's purely by accident!

That bottle of perfume from Mur, it seems, is actually from the Hollow World...specifically the Gulf of Mur in the Northern Atlass Ocean. Oddly enough, one of my players is running an Azcan refugee that's made it to the Known World, and so his character will recognize the reference since the Gulf of Mur is just north of the Azcan lands!

JJ: That one is indeed an accident; the "Mur" mentioned in the adventure is actually referring to the region that features in Greg Vaughan's "The Coming Storm" adventure back in issue #136 of Dungeon.

Crap... looks like we cut one of the more obscure Known World easter eggs. At one point, I believe there was a stuffed giant shrew in the taxidermist's guildhall...
"Mystara in Dragon #339" MMB Thread:

Just for the record, I agree that it is pretty disappointing how little research the authors did for this race conversion. Also previous Mystara articles have suffered from the fact that the authors overlooked many important sources for the creatures/races converted...

MMcA: Some of that comes from an accurate assessment of the Dragon editorial philosophy (something that drives even our Forgotten Realms articles), as mentioned by Traianus Decius Aureus:

"I think Dragon focused on Make it playable in any campaign, rather than make a faithful conversion for Mystara."

The directive that I received when writing the lupin and diaboli articles was: Go by the Mystara Monstrous Appendix and generalize that even further. I'm sure Sean was given the same directive.

You also have to realize that three non-Mystara fans read everything we put in the magazine. I can't tell you how many times I've inserted Mystara and had it yanked out. I'm obviously going to have to be a little more clever about it. ;)

You could then argue that the monster conversions are by their very nature more able to be made generic. But just at a rough glance the Xvart and Suel Lich entries both contain references to Greyhawk whereas the conversions of the Mystaran monsters not only don't contain such references but also contradict other published sources.

MMcA: You're absolutely correct, of course. And this one comes down to author knowledge. I'll brook no attacks on Sean, because he's a friend and outstanding game designer, but he has a definite knowledge bias. Sean knows Greyhawk very well. I suspect his Mystara knowledge is worse than mine, and mine is not great (I like the setting but I'm no expert).

There are a couple other factors that I'm not at liberty to talk about, but that's one of a tripod of reasons why poor Mystara got treated poorly... again.

So then why not get someone in a similar capacity to Mystara to write an article? They even put the call out which some people at least said that they did respond to. Surely all of their ideas couldn't have been that unworkable.

MMcA: *nervous chuckle*

See earlier "tripod" comment. See also
this and this.
"Dragon calls for support" MMB Thread:

MMcA: Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been very active here in the last month or so. Busy, busy, busy!

So anyway, Dragon needs you! By the end of Gen Con (so, by Monday the 22nd of August, which is a week away) we would like to see some Mystara-related article queries/proposals. Send them to Jason Bulmahn at and make sure to put "MYSTARA" (in all caps) as the first word of the subject line (else they might get lost in the shuffle).

Keep in mind, as you think up ideas to send in, that you will have less than a month in which to write the article. So don't bite off more than you can chew in your proposal.

Also, while the article should be intimately tied to Mystara it should have at least a little appeal to non-Mystara fans.

Other than those guidelines it's pretty much open to whatever you might want to do. If you have any question about the query and submissions process check out our writers guidelines and feel free to post here (I'll check this thread once or twice every day this week). Oh, and don't bother querying for specific articles like Ecology, Spellcraft, or Bazaar of the Bizarre. We're talking features here.

Monsters? Yes, no, maybe.

yeah yeah, are ya are ya? me and shade are itching to get something printed. there are probably more unconverted Mystara monsters than from any other world...

I don't know if we're specifically looking for monsters, but on the other hand I'm not sure we're uninterested in seeing monster conversions. I've heard rumor that we're already running several monster articles in that issue, but I don't know if that means we wouldn't run more. All I can say is shoot a query to Jason (following the guidelines of my first post) and see what he says. Even if he doesn't accept the monster query for the Campaign Classics issue he might be interested in it for another issue later. I'm honestly unsure.

Already published stuff? No.

i think the policy is not to print something that is already on the web, at least not verbatim. if you posted an article on VoP, you would probably have to rewrite it for Dragon (and even then, it might be too similar).

for conversions, monsters that we have on the Creature Catalog site for example, we would have to reconvert and rewrite the flavor text. it's got something to do with copyright issues, and i don't even question it.

This is all correct. Paizo buys full rights to our articles, which we can't do if it's already been published. (Don't ask me about the "Knights v. Samurai" article.) If you want to send in something that's already on the Vaults of Pandius you'll need to do enough of a rewrite to make it unsimilar enough that people don't recognize it as the same article. If that makes sense.

Talking Copyright fun! Weee!

there's nothing wrong with them at all. at least the 3.5 ones; the 3.0 ones are just in need of an update.

the problem is that the conversions are copyright owned by Scott Greene. and other sites that post similar things also have copyrights on their content. for that and other reasons, Paizo needs to take a zero tolerance outlook on reusing things that have already been posted on the internet. even if Scott says he wouldn't sue Paizo for using our conversions, there is no guarantee that another site would not. thus, i'd have to redo conversions from the Creature Catalog site from scratch that i did in the first place if i want to see them printed.

someone from Paizo or WotC could probably explain all that better and more correclty than i can.

I'd say your explanation is quite good. The best thing to do when updating a monster is to read all the original sources from OD&D, first edition, and second edition (as appropriate) and write up your version from those. Ignore everything else (especially other conversions on websites). Not because those conversions are wrong or bad or whatever, but because you might subconsciously borrow more from them than you mean to, which can make your conversion too similar to something that already exists. That can lead you (and, by extension, us) to a bit of trouble.

Does that help or am I just clouding the issue?

Is this going to be a Mystara only Campaign Classics issue, a mixture like the previous, or can't you say?

A mix it shall be.

I wonder if a War Machine revision to 3.5 would be of interest to people outside of Mystara? An adaption/conversion of the rules to 3.5, plus adding in some feats and a prestige class that specializes in mass combat.

Oh wow, I love that system! I'd personally love to see a 3.5 update of it, but that's not really up to me. It's also not strictly a Mystara thing, so just query it as a general article (that helps the chances of acceptance). You know, to fit in to any issue.

the "next month" preview said 16... did some get cut?

Unfortunately, yes.

That's too bad, though I'll certainly give it a look through in any case. Is the monster article the entirety of the Campaign Classics theme, or is there going to be more Classics goodness in other articles in the issue? (Not Mystara, obviously, but perhaps for some other OOP worlds).

The entire issue is chock-full of OOP world goodness. In fact, only the letters, Class Acts, and the comics are not related to a campaign setting. Actually, the Knowledge Check in letters is campaign-setting related. Even Sage Advice is about a campaign setting.

We appreciate the effort, in any case. We'll just have to work that much harder to make sure that Mystara gets some further development somewhere. (Maybe try and sneak a Mystara adventure into Dragon or something.)

Thanks. I keep pushing. I think you mean Dungeon there, and I've talked to James Jacobs about just that. He said that if someone proposed a good adventure that just happened to be set in Mystara/The Known World he would consider it. But it has to be a good adventure first and foremost. Which means it probably won't be written by me!

or, looking at it another way, being that it's been OOP for so long - and given that the community is still quite active after so long - then there would appear to be a market for more than that.

Yup. But finding someone to do a Mystara hardcover, while completely awesome, would be tricky. If you assume a book has to sell roughly 3,000 copies to turn a profit (going off estimates I've heard bandied about hereabouts), well... you see what we're up against. The 30 or so of us who frequent these boards would need to each find a bunch of friends to also buy the book.

* Paizo: I would love to see them publish a World of the Princess Ark sourcebook, featuring the entire PA series as well as player guidelines and an introduction to the Known World Setting....

As was pointed out elsewhere in this thread, this has been discussed on our messageboards as well. You can bet your bottom dollar that a few pushes have been made to get Paizo to do something with Mystara.

All this boils down to a question of money, incentive and not the least what WotC's policy on lisencing out their settings from now on will be. (WotC attitudes have clearly varied on this issue during the last five years...)

Yup yup yup. With the recent changes in personnel over there, who knows what the new policy is? Not me! We'll just have to wait and see how things turn out re: licensing.
So, in this doomy and gloomy thread, what possible hope have we for a silver lining of Mystaran goodness? What information could I possibly impart to split the veil of rainy sadness that this thread has thus far wrought? What flower-filled pass could we possibly find on the flanks of the insurmountable mountain of despair we are now facing?

(How about that for overwrought?)

Let me throw you guys a teaser.

Erik is working at something you guys are going to love. If he can pull it off, Mystara will appear in the magazine a second time in 2006. If it works out the way we want it to, you guys are gonna love it. I know this because I love it, and you guys are bigger fans of the setting than me.

Maure Castle-esque? or more like the Isle of Dread or the one with Zargon that have been in the mags in recent years?

I'm not sure just how much Mystara-ness Dungeon will allow. Erik's own beloved Greyhawk only gets mention in passing (like how it's the Free City in "Age of Worms" instead of Greyhawk City). So I imagine a Mystara adventure must have that same level of vagueness to it.

any insight into why WotC is so tight with stuff like that?

A little bit of insight. Some I can even talk about here.

is it because Paizo is another company, or is it because they are not Eberron or Forgotten Realms (i.e., currently supported settings)?

That's the main reason, yes.

and even if they aren't active worlds, so what?

They compete with Eberron and Forgotten Realms, which Wizards of the Coast does not want. Or for sure didn't want at least up until last Thursday.

oddly enough TSR was never truly hesitant to use Dragon and Dungeon to support inactive camapign worlds (to the best of my recollection).

Yes, but... um... well we can see where TSR is these days...

Actually, I don't think there's much reason not to infrequently support the "dead" campaign settings (at least not the ones that don't already have support from other companies). Wizards of the Coast has no problem with us doing the Campaign Classics every year, after all. Having spoken with James Jacobs about this I believe the problem mostly lies in getting good adventure queries that just happen to be set in the Known World (or wherever).

That's the sort of thing I was thinking of (and you were right, I meant Dungeon and not Dragon), although perhaps not quite so vague. Something like, for instance, a ruined dwarven city named Jhyrrad or something like that. Hopefully it would cut the muster.

That's the sort of thing that has the best chance of succeeding in bringing Mystara back to the magazines. Of course, you can try to be sly about it and include a little continuity here and there. The problem, though, is that if you're not up front with James about it being a Mystara adventure he might change a few things that ruin continuity. So be aware that you're going to walk a very thin line to get a Mystara adventure into Dungeon.

That said, though, I know James and Erik are both friendly toward Mystara, even if they aren't necessarily "fans." So I encourage everyone reading this who has ever wanted to write an adventure for Dungeon to set it in Mystara. Go on, send in your queries! Make sure to read their submission guidelines (posted on their website) and then send your queries to

Still working on a really good idea, though.

Me too.

Good luck, Cthulhudrew and everyone else who sends them queries.

I'm guessing whoever has got past the first cut will probably already be contacted, although of course I'm sure that they couldn't tell us. It would be interesting though Mike if we can find when this issue is coming out?

The Campaign Classics issue will be out in January.

Jason Bulmahn is in charge of looking through the submissions and picking a few for Wes and me to look at. From that discussion Jason takes what makes it through the three of us and presents that to Erik. Erik, of course, has final say.

We haven't had that meeting yet, so unless Jason is going to just skip past Wes and me and head straight for Erik, nothing has been decided yet. Or rather, nothing has been accepted yet (Jason does reject things without showing them to us).

Hmm...that reminds me. I should bug Jason about that meeting...

Did the Mystara article availability get canned or did one person already get contacted and written the article and are just not saying anything here?

I don't know. Jason never told me what's going on for this. I'm sure he'll look at everything for next year's Campaign Classics articles if he never got around to looking for this year's. I think we're including Mystara stuff, but I have no confirmation of that.

dang, that's a bit dissapointing

Yeah, tell me about it.

Me: "We're gonna include Mystara stuff?"
Jason: "Yup. Ask for the folks on the Mystara boards for queries."
Me: "Hee! Done and done!"
*time passes*
Me: "Did you get any Mystara submissions?"
Jason: "Yup."
Me: "And?"


Dang- sounds like either he just hasn't really had a chance to do anything with the submissions, or else we didn't come up with anything interesting for him.

Hope its the former, though. I'd hate to think my creativity has fled from me completely.

I'm 98% certain it's the former. We haven't caught up on submissions since Gen Con, so a lot of submissions are in the holding pattern right now (not just Mystara submissions).

Of course, I can't really talk right now. I'm about a month behind on my submissions and emails.
:Unhappy: Yay! D'oh.

Good news/bad news.

So Dragon is going to have something Mystara related in issue #339. It's going to be monsters. I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of phanatons. The monster article will have 12 monsters, IIRC. I think 3 are from Mystara and the other 9 are from Ravenloft and Greyhawk. All of the monsters have the same treatment in terms of connection to a campaign. Which is to say, not much.

I have to toe the party line, of course, but I'll admit that I'm disappointed by the amount of coverage Mystara is getting. Other settings are getting more, but a lot of settings are getting much less.

So... yay, Mystara! But also... d'oh, three monsters!

It just goes to show that my ability to get Mystara included in the magazine is somewhat limited.

In regard to the suggestion:

"you know what would be wicked awesome?

if there were a separate magazine (you could call it say "Different Worlds" or something equally cheesy) besides Dragon and Dungeon that focused solely on different D&D campaign settings, besides base Forgotten Realms and Eberron. it would be like the Campaign Classics issue, though maybe every other month, and would feature one article per setting to be included.

one month you might get a greyhawk, spelljammer, and mystara; the next month you might get a greyhawk, ravenloft, and dragonlance; the next month you might get a mystara, planescape, and al qadim!

and it doesn't have to be limited to old settings - you could feature campaign material from people's home settings, or build new ones just for the magazine.":

The major stumbling block with a "Campaign Support" magazine idea is not the creative costs, but the editing and printing costs. At a flat rate of 5 cents a word (with a guesstimate of about 800 words per page, 120 pages of content per magazine) I'm reasonably sure that Paizo spends less than $5,000 per issue on writer's and artist's fees. Probably two to three times this amount goes to covering in-house salaries - for editing, layout management, sales and marketing expertise. And even these costs pale when you look at expenses for printing, packaging and shipping. The thing that would frankly surprise me would be to discover that an issue of Dragon could be produced for less than $50,000 an issue or so.

I can't get into the numbers, of course, but Dragon pays more than $5,000 per issue on editorial and a whole bunch more than that on art. Otherwise, I'd say you're pretty spot-on.

does paizo have to pay licensing fees?

Yes. We license the right to publish Dragon and Dungeon, which is why we must go through the approval process with Wizards of the Coast and why we can put 100% Official on the front covers.

ah, good point. but what i was wondering was, does paizo have to pay any licensing fees (above and beyond the normal ones) to use Greyhawk, Mystara, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, etc material?

Ah, I gotcha now.

The answer to that is no. As long as that stuff appears in the magazines, of course. Producing other D&D products would require a different licensing agreement.

(Part II) Compiled Q&A with DRAGON and DUNGEON Magazine Staff and Writers

The 50,000 character limit for posts was reached, so on to Part II:

"The Savage Tide Adventure Path [Dungeon Magazine Spoilers!]" MMB Thread:

When your player characters defeat the Wormgod Kyuss at the pulse-pounding conclusion of the Age of Worms Adventure Path in this very issue, they will have rescued the world itself from an unspeakable danger. They end the campaign as sovereigns of their own nation, inheriting the problems of a kingdom beset on all sides by political and military challenges. From their posh palace chambers in Alhaster they'll look out with a mixture of pride and melancholy at the waters of the Lake of Unknown Depths, remembering the simplicity of their humble beginnings. Chances are strong your players will be looking for new challenges too.

In four short months DUNGEON comes to the rescue with the Savage Tide Adventure Path, a 12-installment campaign designed to take charaters from the heady days of first level all the way to the responsibilities of level 20. Running every month from issue #139 to the milestone DUNGEON #150, the Savage Tide takes plauers on an ocean voyage that begins in the fecund southern jungles and leads deep into the heart of the treacherous Lower Planes.

The action begins in the port city of Sasserine, where canny merchant princes exploit the natural wonder of a vast jungle at the very edge of civilization. There, the PCs find themselves in the employ of Lavinia Vanderborn, a young noble who has just inherited her family estate and colonial holdings after the tragic death of her parents. Her younger brother, Vanthus, has fallen in with a bad crowd, and after stealing an unusual black pearl from the trove of a pirate stronghold, he flees to the family's holdings on a distant tropical island - the Isle of Dread. Following Vanthus across the uncharted southern seas leads the PCs to the dinosaur-ridden island, where they discover that similar strange pearls have been placed in cities throughout the world. When the order is given, these pearls will discharge a massive burst of dehumanizing energy - the Savage Tide - that will turn ordinary citizens into cannibalistic savages.

Exploration of the treacherous Isle of Dread and the mysterious plateau at its center represent a major portion of the campaign, but the PCs will have little time to grow complacent, as pirates and the treacherous Vanthus harry the Vanderboren colony. An attempt to stop the pirates leads to Scuttlecove, a scurvy town of buccaneers, yuan-ti, and worse. The PCs thwart the menace of the pirate fleet, only to discover that Vanthus has kidnapped his sister and taken her to the Abyssal realm of his patron, Demogorgon, Prince of Demons and architect of the Savage Tide. By unleashing waves of madness and rage throughout the Material Plane, Demogorgon hopes to reconcile the feuding personalities of his two heads and increase his standing in the Great Wheel. To defeat the most powerful of demon princes, the PCs must negotiate a planar conspiracy aimed at weakening him in his own lair and destroying him once and for all.

An all-star array of our favorite game designers and DUNGEON contributors are already hard at work on the adventures. Managing Editor James Jacobs, author of last issue's "Into the Wormcrawl Fissure" and the silent puppetmaster behind most DUNGEON adventures, will contribute the first installment, "There is No Honor," in DUNGEON #139. That issue also comes with a poster map of Sasserine and a backdrop describing the locale in detail, the first of several to come throughout the series. James's adventure will be followed by installments from Nicolas Logue, Richard Pett, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen S. Greer & Gary Holian, F. Wesley Schneider & James Sutter, Tito Leati, Keith Baker, Sean K Reynolds, Eric L. Boyd, Wolfgang Baur, and Greg A. Vaughn. As with the Age of Worms, a companion series of articles aimed at players will appear in the pages of DRAGON, and lively discussion will take place on In fact, by the time you get this, a new Savage Tide message board is already in operation.

After defeating Kyuss and the Age of Worms, you and your players have earned a few months off. But don't get too comfortable. The Savage Tide is just around the corner!
JJ: While the "Savage Tide" Adventrue Path is nominally set in Greyhawk, the fact remains that nearly half of the adventures in the campaign take place in or near the Isle of Dread, which is perhaps the most iconic Mystara adventure of all time. Mystara's one of my favorite D&D settings, so you can expect Mystara easter eggs to pop up throughout the campaign, usually in the form of Mystara monsters updated to the 3rd edition rules. That said, does anyone have any particular favorite monsters they'd like to see updated?

Wow, I hadn't checked the thread in a while but now seeing as the editor from dungeon posted it as somewhat Mystara related I'm interested in buying it. Anyone know around which time the first issue of this campaign is supposed to come out ?

JJ: Savage Tide starts in issue #139 of Dungeon, which is the October issue. It should be reaching subscribers in late August/early September; hopefully we'll have some copies to show off or sell at Gen Con, but no promises there!
"Dragon #343" MMB Thread:

Talking of Dragon, what issue is going to feature Bruce's new Princess Ark episode? I'm thinking of ordering it directly from Paizo. (Getting it here in Japan is unfortunately not all that easy.)

MMcA: #344. The June issue and Dragon's 30th anniversary issue.

Oh! That's closer than what I was thinking it was.

Yup, it's almost here.

We're editing it right now!

Almost... done... with... issue...