Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links


by Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 25

The twenty-fifth issue of Mystara’s premier magazine leads you to explore cities, palaces, castles and secret lairs, refuges or obstacles for brave adventurers!

Strongholds of Mystara

Despite the Covid-19 crisis which as everyone knows is affecting the whole world, we managed to produce another great issue of Threshold magazine. I assure you this was not a small feat as the editors were affected by the lockdown in their countries as everyone else, and I had the virus myself, even if fortunately with very mild symptoms. Nevertheless, we hope Threshold magazine, with your help and contributions, will continue on as we now have reached seven years of publication!

The next issue of Threshold, to be published by end 2020, will focus on another fundamental theme of fantasy roleplaying: Heroes, Villains and Organizations! Send your proposal to the Threshold mail (check Submission guidelines and mail on the last page of the issue) or write in the Threshold proposals thread at The Piazza forum.

Even if we usually have no shortage of articles, we always need help for proofreading and editing the submissions. Indeed at the moment we are left with two active editors, therefore it is likely the issues schedule will have to be scaled back to two issues a year. So anyone willing to help the Threshold Editorial Team please come forward and let us know through the mail or in the above thread at The Piazza. Helping Threshold magazine certainly needs some time commitment, but is creative and rewarding work!

And now to the content of this issue: we look for the first time inside the Imperial Palaces of Thyatis and Alphatia, then we travel to the city state of Saffir in Norwold, the Stronghold district of Specularum, Port Blight in Karameikos, and then to the strongholds of the friendly and not-so friendly inhabitants of the Dymrak forest, continuing the detailed description of this region from the previous issues of Threshold magazine! After meeting a very evil knight, we will continue with the third and final part of the big tabletop conversion of the classic 1991 Mystara videogame, Warriors of the Eternal Sun. And finally we will continue exploring the many subsettings of Mystara with the third and final part of the article.

Special thanks also to Justin Pfeil (aka warriorneedsfood) the famous author of the Keep on the Borderlands webcomic and to Dario Odillo, who both provided original illustrations for this issue!

The Threshold Editorial Team and the authors hope you will enjoy this new issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together, and stay tuned for the next issue!

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

Editor, Threshold Issue 25

Editorial Credits

Threshold Editorial Team:

Allan Palmer (AllanP)

Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles)

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

Editors Emeriti

Andrew Theisen (Cthulhudrew)


Angel Tarragon (The Angelic Dragon)

Geoff Gander (Seer of Y’hog)


Jesper Andersen (Spellweaver)

John Calvin (Chimpman)
Joseph Setorius (Julius Cleaver)

Leland (Argentmantle)


Robert Nuttman (RobJN)

Simone Neri (Zendrolion)

Thorfinn Tait (Thorf)

Troy Terrell (CmdrCorsiken)

THRESHOLD logo designed by Thorf

Editors, Issue 25:

Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)
Allan Palmer (AllanP)
Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles)


Allan Palmer (AllanP)


Justin Pfeil

Dario Odillo
V Shane
William McAusland


Allan Palmer
Giampaolo Agosta

Irving Galvez
Douglas Lanford

Thorfinn Tait

Additional Reviewers & Proofreaders:

Allan Palmer (AllanP)

Giampaolo Agosta
John Calvin (Chimpman)

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.

Kyle Knight (aka Gravesguardian on The Piazza forum) is wandering Thunder Rift dealing with the threats that spring up.

Irving Galvez (a.k.a. Oleck) Mexican player since the early 80s, amateur Mystara writer since 1996. The time passes and when the days of fantasy flew away with the age and you reach the stage of responsibilities, work, family and everyday problems, you look back and take those dusty books of D&D, and escape a moment to your childhood. Keep on playing!!!

Allan Palmer (a.k.a. AllanP) was first introduced to D&D a long time ago (but not quite in a galaxy far away) by a work colleague who set up a gaming group using the last version of the “blue book” rules. While dabbling with RuneQuest and Traveller along the way, he developed a liking for what would become the world of Mystara as the BECMI box sets were released. He has always been fascinated by maps. He is an IT professional and when not indulging in hobbies of panelology, retro tv watching and family history research,uses his various PC skills to consolidate the writings of others into the issues of Threshold.

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”.

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.

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 26 - Heroes, Villains and Organizations

This issue will focus on NPCs and the Organizations PCs can meet as enemies or allies in Mystara.

Proposal Deadline: July 15th, 2020

Manuscript Deadline: October 15th, 2020

Issue Published: December 2020

Issue 27 - Theme to be determined

2021 issues themes are still to be determined, so we will soon create a poll on The Piazza! Let us know your preferences!

Proposal Deadline: January 15th, 2021

Manuscript Deadline: April 15th, 2021

Issue Published: June, 2021

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.

Please refer to our Submission Guidelines on the inside back cover of this issue.

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

Heroes, Villains & Organizations

Our next issue will focus on NPCs and Organizations that PCs can meet as either enemies or allies in their exploits across Mystara.

Anticipated contents include:

Ra-hotep the lich

Adventurers and Mercenaries

Alphatian bastions of the untamed east

and much, much more!


A refuge or a trap?

Strongholds can be safe refuges for the party or nightmarish trap to escape from. In this issue of Threshold, you will find some examples which can be either, depending on you role in the story, are you the owner or the intruder?

After exploring the Imperial Palaces of Thyatis and Alphatia, the city state of Saffir, the hideout of Port Blight and discovering the last remaining secrets of the Dymrak region, we will end our wandering under the Red Sun with the completion of the conversion to tabletop rpg of the classic videogame Warriors of the Eternal Sun. We will then finish exploring the many subsettings of our favourite campaign world, this time well beyond the surface of Mystara in space and time!

Storm the walls, or prepare yourself to defend them!