Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links


by Giampaolo Agosta from Threshold Magazine issue 13

Threshold Issue #13

Front Cover Blurb

The thirteenth issue of the Mystara Magazine, providing a coverage of some of the many beings inhabiting the world of Mystara.


A Crucible of Creatures

Whether weird or traditional, monsters are a staple of Dungeons & Dragons, and therefore naturally of Mystara. Like many other “general” settings, Mystara provides a bewildering range of different creatures. In this sense, D&D takes omnivorous inspiration from literature, mythology, and art -- which we have chosen to honor by featuring a detail from the right panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych masterwork, the Garden of Earthly Delights. In turn, D&D provides inspiration to modern literature and art -- as can be seen, for example, in the range of inhabitants of China Mieville’s fantastic city of New Crobuzon in Perdido Street Station.

While all of this could be said for most D&D settings, Mystara has the distinction of being one of the first to allow a wide range of non-standard character races, ranging from goblins to werewolves, from pooka to gremlins, and from sea giants to sphinxes. Such a selection remained unparalleled until at least 3E’s Savage Species, and can be considered a distinguishing point when comparing Mystara with the settings originating from AD&D. Thus, this issue can be seen as a homage to the Creature Crucible series, which introduced dozens of new playable creatures in BECMI and Mystara, and to the Orcs of Thar Gazetteer, a precursor of sort to that series.

Our treatment of the many creatures that populate Mystara begins with a long overdue revision and completion of the sentient beings list, initiated by Matthew Levy some two decades ago. The issue then delves into specific beings with articles on Bhut, the peculiar quasi-undead shapechangers which originally appeared in module X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, lycanthropes, and undead. The issue’s theme concludes with a guide to the wilderness areas on the Known World map, and their inhabitants. We then return to Blackmoor, analyzing its campaign uses and different versions, and complete the overview of Hesperia. Finally, a short adventure for a single Thief character, and our recurring columns, Koskatep, the Hollow Moon series, and the Mogreth Lego Comic, round out the issue.

Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles)

Editor-in-Chief, Threshold Issue 13


Discover a multitude of creatures inhabiting Mystara! In this issue, you will find an expanded list of sentient beings, plus in-depth coverage of lycanthropes, bhuts, and the undead.

Moreover, this issue includes articles on the past ages of Blackmoor and Hesperia, as well as a short single-player adventure for a Thief character and a new level of Koskatep, our recurring mega-dungeon.