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by Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 20

[Front Cover Blurb: Issue 20]

The twenth issue of the Mystara Magazine, featuring the unknown and mysterious lands of Skothar.

Skothar the Unknown

Skothar has always been fascinating to me because it was the most mysterious and underdeveloped continent of Mystara. There were a few names in the original Master set map by Frank Mentzer, the Alphatian colony in Esterhold introduced in the Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, the descriptions of Jennites and Tanagoro and the mention of Milenian colonists founding Minaea in the Hollow World boxed and the Poor Wizard’s Almanac. That is about all the canon informations on the whole continent. But then, there is Blackmoor. Originally developed by Dave Arneson as an independent setting, the first one for D&D, Blackmoor was placed in Mystara with the DA series of modules (1986-1987). The Mystara Known World Gazetteers seemed to assume Blackmoor was in the Known World, but later the Hollow World boxed set placed Blackmoor in Skothar. The idea is convenient as it allows to give quite an interesting past to the mysterious continent.

As happened with all the rest of Mystara, fans did not stay idle after canon products were discontinued and several new material was created for Skothar too, with a full project to turn the continent into the Oriental setting of Mystara. This issue of Threshold present the current status of the fan development of Skothar. You will see there is still much work to do, but also enough ideas to allow DMs to use the continent as a fully functional setting, fascinating and diverse as all the rest of Mystara is.

We will start with the current map of Skothar done by Thorfinn Tait, then with the History of the continent and the historical maps I have made for it. You will see Thorfinn and I have different takes on the shape and the extension of Skothar and that is fine as Threshold Magazine does not creates “canon” material for Mystara, but present all the different ideas fans may have about the setting. Next, we will see three Almanac-style entries for nations of Skothar and a short description of Skotharian rakasta by Arnden Quartzspar. Then Robin will introduce us to the Beholders of Mystara and Skothar, Yaztromo will present the Duchy of the Peaks from Blackmoor times to now, and Brian Rubinfield will show Blackmoor returned with all its might in present days Skothar.
Finally, Giampaolo Agosta will lead us to an adventure with humans and rakasta in the Gulf of Tangor, inspired by the Far East swashbuckling adventures of classic italian writer Emilio Salgari. Last but not least an article not set specifically in Skothar but easily applicable to it: playing the zhochal by Geoff Gander, a completely alien intelligent creature from another dimension who can take humanoid guise and could become either allies or an enemies.

Enough material in this issue to spark your imagination and let you populate the unknown continent of Skothar with history, people and places, turning it into a setting as alive as the rest of Mystara continues to be!

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

Editor-in-Chief, Threshold Issue 20

Editorial Credits

Threshold Editorial Team:

Allan Palmer (AllanP)

Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles)

John Calvin (Chimpman)

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

Editors Emeriti

Andrew Theisen (Cthulhudrew)


Angel Tarragon (The Angelic Dragon)

Geoff Gander (Seer of Y’hog)


Jesper Andersen (Spellweaver)

Joseph Setorius (Julius Cleaver)

Leland (Argentmantle)


Robert Nuttman (RobJN)

Simone Neri (Zendrolion)

Thorfinn Tait (Thorf)

Troy Terrell (CmdrCorsiken)

THRESHOLD logo designed by Thorf

Editor-in-Chief, Issue 20:

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)


Allan Palmer (AllanP)


Khannea SunTzu
Justin Pfeil
Toni Roads



Thorfinn Tait

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)
Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles)
Christian Constantin

Additional Reviewers & Proofreaders:

Allan Palmer (AllanP)

John Calvin (Chimpman)

Harri Maki (hihama)

Simone Neri

Robert Nuttman (RobJN)

Shawn Stanley

Author Blurbs

Giampaolo Agosta (a.k.a. Agathokles) agrees with Schiller that “man is only completely a man when he plays". Therefore, he makes a point of taking gaming seriously, and real life casually. Besides Mystara, his gaming interests include (among others) Dark Sun, Planescape, Ravenloft, Birthright, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars and Witchcraft RPG.

Francis Doherty Jr, (Aka Arnden Quartzspar) started playing in Mystara in 1982 at age 12, with the Isle of Dread. Like Frank, Arnden joined the Air Force, and started to see remote areas of the world. When he lost his homeland, he started to journal his exploration on foot. Skothar caught his eye and has held his interest ever since.

Geoff Gander has been heavily involved in the Mystaran community for longer than he cares to remember. He has since been published by Solstice Publishing, Metahuman Press, AE SciFi, and Expeditious Retreat Press. He primarily writes horror and dark fantasy, but is willing to give anything a whirl. When he isn't writing or toiling on a cube farm, Geoff spends his time reading, entertaining his two boys, watching British comedies, playing roleplaying games, and travelling. Not at the same time.

Justin Pfeil draws comics, is a historical fencer in the Italian tradition, makes armor for his friends, and has played D&D since the Red Box was first published. His current project is a webcomic about characters attempting to survive The Keep on the Borderlands module from the players perspective.

Robin (at The Piazza, Robin D elsewhere) Female from 1962, she began playing D&D since its earliest days as far back as 1978, soon after becoming “addicted”. Ultimately, she was intimately bound to the world of Mystara, because of its complex diversity. A current compiler of massive materials available on Vaults of Pandius & her “Breath of Mystara” blog; and former Teacher of Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, Physics, once travelling all over Europe as a stage dancer including house parties. Once called “The Fletcher” at UK GenCon by Bruce Heard for her extensive compilation in “Revenge of the Little Ones”.

Brian Rubinfeld: despite never being as intense of a fan as much of the fandom, Brian has had a fondness for Mystara stretching back as many eons as the stars! Whether coming up with zany ideas or diving into the earthiness of the setting's lore, he always finds something to love about the Known World and beyond. When not writing for Threshold, Brian is an amateur writer and game creator looking into freelance options, as well as currently working in a pharmacy.

I'm Toni Roads. I'm a concept artist and illustrator based in Barcelona, Spain. I always liked fantasy as a way to get away from reality so I can learn to face problems with a new perspective. I'm a big fan of RPGs, and fantasy universes like Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. Currently, I'm a Half-Elf Ranger raised by Halflings.
You can follow me on instagram:@toniroadsart
Artstation: www.artstation/
Facebook: Toni Roads Art

Even though Sturm (a.k.a. Francesco Defferrari) loves any alternate world, he believes Mystara is incomparably the best for its vibrant community endlessly delving into ethnography, linguistics and history just to make a little sense of it. Something like the real world, but with dragons.

He's The Real Nowhere Man, sitting in his Nowhere Land, making all his Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Thorfinn Tait hails from the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland, though he has lived in Japan for many years now. Growing up with BECMI and the Known World, he learnt to type by compiling a database of Mystara’s timeline. He joined the Mystara online community in 1997, but his true contributions began with the Atlas of Mystara project starting in 2005. Recently he has made the jump to become a published fantasy cartographer, working on Bruce Heard’s Calidar series. You can follow his work on his cartography site ( and the Atlas site (

Call for Contributors

The Threshold editorial team invites all fans of the Mystara setting to submit contributions to the magazine’s next issue.

We are especially looking for contributions fitting the following themes:

Issue 21 - Specularum

Discover the history, personalities, organizations and locales of Specularum, the city on the mirror bay, capital of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. This issue aims at giving a new life to the vaporware "Fantasy Cities #1: Specularum" supplement.

Proposal Deadline: July 15th, 2018

Manuscript Deadline: August 10th, 2018

Issue Published: By October 21st, 2018

Call for proposals for main themes of forthcoming issues (2019):

Issue 22 - Adventures and Campaigns

This issue will focus on adventures, campaigns, and other materials directly useful for your Mystaran games

Proposal Deadline: November 3rd, 2018

Manuscript Deadline: December 6th, 2018

Issue Published: By February 15th, 2019

Issue 23 -Strongholds

This issue will delve into the myriad of strongholds that dot the Mystaran landscape. Cities, castles, towers, and secret lairs. These strongholds may serve as anything from bastions of refuge, to adventure obstacles waiting to be overcome by Mystaran PCs.

Proposal Deadline: March 3rd, 2019

Manuscript Deadline: April 6th, 2019

Issue Published: By June 15th, 2019

Articles about other topics are still welcome and the editorial team will evaluate their publication for any upcoming issue, taking into account available space and the issue's theme.

Threshold accepts and invites submissions of extended or revised versions of works having appeared on The Piazza or Vaults of Pandius.

Contributions may include, but are not limited to: Articles-- short stories, short adventure modules, NPCs, historical treatises and timelines, geographical entries, new monsters and monster ecologies, etc.; and Illustrations-- portraits, maps, heraldry, illustrations, etc.

The Threshold editorial team strives for edition neutrality, but edition specific articles (e.g., conversions) are also accepted. Statistics for new monsters and NPCs may be included in articles (e.g., adventure modules, new monsters or NPCs) in any version of Dungeons & Dragons. The editorial team also offers help in providing conversions to some specific rules set. Including BECMI/RC, 2nd Edition, 3rd edition/Pathfinder. However, they should be limited to a minimum -- for most NPCs, it is sufficient to mention class, level, and alignment. For important NPCs, a one or two line stat block may be included.

Next Issue

Issue 21 - Specularum

Discover the history, personalities, organizations and locales of Specularum, the city on the mirror bay, capital of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. This issue aims at giving a new life to the vaporware "Fantasy Cities #1: Specularum" supplement.


[Image: Back Cover of issue 20]

[Back Cover Blurb: Issue 20]

Skothar Revealed!

The Eastern Continent of Mystara is explored for the first time in these pages, highlighting and expanding all the fan works done so far to populate and develop Skothar! Travel to the lands of the rakasta, or discover the great Empires of the East, ready to leave their mark on the whole world. Search for the dangerous technomagic items of lost Blackmoor, or fight against those who try to seize them to spread devastation and terror!
Discover hidden Beholder cities, the treasures of ancient Thonia and the ruins of the Duchy of Peaks. Face the Tigers of Kuraman, or escape from Returned Blackmoor!
The immense plains, the great forests, the high mountains and the ancient ruins of Skothar wait for brave adventurers ready to face ancient secrets and new threats.


[Image: Cover of issue 20]
Cover of issue 20 by Sturm, using a photo of Beijing by user shizhao via Wikimedia Commons


[Image: Back Cover of issue 20]
Back cover of issue 20 by Sturm, using Fasil Ghebbi fortress in Gondar, Ethiopia photo by A.Savin, via Wikimedia Commons.


[Image: Mockup Cover of issue 21]
Cover of issue 18 by AllanP