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Editorial: From the Vaults ...by Andrew Theisen from Threshold Magazine issue 2
Almost 20 years ago, the Mystara campaign setting was discontinued by TSR. The last published products for the setting would appear under the 2E AD&D banner and rules. Not long after that, TSR, Inc. folded its doors and was sold to Wizards of the Coast. Mystara ceased to exist as a published setting.
Around the same time, the internet – as we now know it – was just beginning to reach wide levels of use and accessibility. The “world wide web” was being born, and for the first time, allowing audiences around the globe to communicate more quickly, more directly with one another. In places like Usenet, people could now share their common interests with no thought to the geographic distances between themselves.
Prior to its sale, TSR had ventured into this territory, with message boards dedicated to its various product lines, and it was there, on the Mystara AOL boards that many of the seminal members of our community first met and interacted. A mailing list – set up by Leroy van Camp III – was set up as another place for fans to interact. Even creators, such as Bruce Heard, Frank Mentzer, Ann Dupuis, stopped in and joined in the chatting.
Where TSR eventually folded, the mailing list continued on. And continued to grow. And other sites appeared as well; our Italian friends overseas developed a notably large Mystara community. Even Wizards of the Coast eventually created a dedicated forum for discussion for Mystarans, and reached out to our community, promoting the discussions. A contest for an “official logo” was even held.
Mystara lived on, despite there being no new products published and sold for it. It might even be said that it prospered more than ever. Fans from around the globe met, discussed, collaborated, and created new content, new stories; explored and mapped new areas never before seen. Shared stories from their own creations and campaigns.
This new wealth of information virtually cried out for a place to go, to exist in perpetuity. The Vaults of Pandius website was created for that purpose – to serve as a storehouse for as much of this content as one man could possibly collect and put into place, without regard for who created it, whether it fit together; it was just a wealth of all this collective input the Mystara community could cobble together, to continue to perpetuate the campaign world that had come to mean so much to us all.
That’s what this issue is here to commemorate. Not the Vaults of Pandius as a place, so much as a symbol. A symbol of a fully global community of people united by our shared interest.
We’re happy to bring you this issue featuring articles that are expanded or reimagined articles housed at the Vaults of Pandius, or are inspired by articles there. In honor of the Vaults as a treasure trove of our community creativity, some of these even feature brand new material, to take their place with the rest.
This issue is for all of us. We hope you enjoy it.