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by John Calvin from Threshold Magazine issue 9

Beneath the Surface

I was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons during my eighth birthday. One of my friends gave me the red boxed set as a gift, and while we played a few one-offs at the time, that box sat in a drawer in my bedroom, largely forgotten, for years afterward. At some point my brothers and I began playing in earnest and the two of them chipped in and bought me GAZ 8 The Five Shires for Christmas. After that I was hooked. I took every opportunity to plead and beg with my parents to buy yet another chunk of my beloved Mystara… but those occurrences were few and far between.

That situation changed drastically once I got my first part time job after school, and it is also why I have a special place in my heart for the Hollow World. I can still remember walking into my friendly local gaming shop and seeing that boxed set for the first time. It was one of the first purchases I made with my own hard earned cash… and it was money well spent.

Memories of those times have not been forgotten. I remember the smell of the books, the background music I played when PCs first emerged from the Broken Lands into the great stone bowl at Atacalpa (it was Kaboom!!! from the soundtrack of The Hunt for Red October), and most of all I remember the cacophony of plots racing through my skull.

Along with substantial nostalgia, the Hollow World has fueled a more recent pastime of mine, a hobby I’ve taken to calling Fantasy Archaeology. With its early connections to Blackmoor, and teasing references to ancient cultures such as Nithia and Taymora, Mystara has always been a world with rich history… something that is not always immediately apparent to players. In the Hollow World, that history came to life; it drove myself, and countless others, to explore Mystara’s unearthed past. A past with just as much potential for adventuring as the modern era’s setting. Yet that is a topic for another time, and dare I say it, a future issue of Threshold!

I am very proud of the work we’ve done in this issue of Threshold. So prepare yourselves! What lies below will refire the imagination, for within the depths of these pages shines an ever burning light, the rays of a Red Sun...

new adventure hooks can be churned out. In the little spare time away from Mystara he helps other guys in designing oil and gas pipelines around the (real) world.


The Known World may be Hollow… but it isn’t Empty!

From Niels Klims Underground Travels to A Journey to the Center of the Earth, we have been fascinated with the idea of a secret world beneath our feet. For Mystara’s inhabitants, the Hollow World is no fable!

Journey once again to the Land of the Red Sun, where high noon never fades, and time is measured by the passage of floating continents, circling high amidst the clouds... a land where Mystara’s past, and the secrets of the Immortals, live eternal.