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by John Calvin from Threshold Magazine issue 12

Threshold Issue #12

Front Cover Blurb

The twelfth issue of the Mystara Magazine, delving into eons past from the dusk of ancient Lhomarr to the dawn of the Thyatian Empire.


Gaze into the Past

It’s been nearly three years since we started Threshold, the Mystara Magazine, and as I think you’ll be able to tell from the page count, we are still going strong. This is the fourth issue of the magazine that I’ve had the privilege to be Editor in Chief for, and I still really love doing it. This issue, Ages Past, in particular holds a special interest for me, because for me, it is Mystara’s rich and varied past that makes it the campaign setting I want to spend most of my time in.

One can garner quite a bit of history from those early D&D adventure modules, and I think that was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Hollow World campaign setting, for example. It gave game designers a chance to share all of the information that DM’s had known about for years, with Players who may have had only the most cursory of looks into their game world’s past. But the Hollow World setting isn’t what I want to talk about today. While it is a great setting, the Hollow World is only an echo of Mystara’s past expressed in the modern era. I want to explore what it was really like in Mystara’s bygone eras.

I think this issue is amazing because within it are so many seeds that DM’s can use to grow full blown campaigns through the timeline of Mystara’s history. Explore the tower of Bargle… the elder. Journey to Hesperia, where Players can experience, and perhaps even have a hand, in the early development of the Thyatian Empire. Travel to ancient Taymora, where undead rule and the land is shrouded in darkness, or view Thonia as it existed before the rise of Blackmoor… though tread lightly lest you rouse the Egg of Coot! But the journey doesn’t end there... Travel even further back in history to witness the decline of Lhomarr or further yet to gaze upon the dawn of the elves! Of course that’s not all this issue offers. We return to the depths of Koskatep, and continue our exploration of Limn, and even more… and to top everything else off, we were lucky enough to spend some time with James Mishler, one of fandom’s leading architects in Mystara history.

Speaking of James, it was much of his work that inspired me oh so many years (dare I say decades) ago, to delve into Mystara’s past. His writings about Taymora brought forth so many images of dark undead lords, and their accursed minions, that I had to explore that place on my own. In fact within the pages of this very magazine you will find two different versions of Taymora both inspired (at least in part) by James’ work. They don’t necessarily conform to all of the ideas he originally put forth, nor do they completely mesh with one another… but that is okay, and in fact something else that I love about Mystara.

We all have our own version tucked away inside our heads (or if you’re a fellow DM, inside a nicely yellowed notebook). From myself, and the other contributors of this issue, I hope that we can bring some of those visions to life for you. And I hope… with your help… that they continue to grow.

John Calvin (Chimpman)

Editor-in-Chief, Threshold Issue 12


The past can come alive!

Ancient empires, horrors, miracles, catastrophes… Mystara’s past is a rich treasure trove of such experiences, just waiting to be plundered. Most Player Characters learn about history from musty scrolls and crumbling clay tablets... but no more. Now they can live through those ancient mysteries directly.

Within these pages you will find adventures that span from mere decades before the modern era, all the way to the remote beginnings of humankind itself. While Geoff Gander and OldDawg explore two of the oldest human empires, LoZompatore delves into the origin of the elves. Other articles focus on darker times, in ancient Taymora, and we even delve into the past of the Mystaran community itself in an interview with James Mishler.

Even more can be found within, for this isn’t the end of the story. Nor is it the beginning. You can always go... further back...