By the time I was ready to try to play D&D most of those who I knew did had moved on to other games and systems that I had no interest in. Vampire and Werewolf were the call of the day and I didn't like what I saw at those tables. So, once again I stepped away from the idea of tabletop gaming. Long story short, it wasn't until I was in AIT that I finally played D&D. It was 2nd edition and I pretty much had to have my hand held throughout the entire game. However, despite feeling like a simpleton I had fun and as years passed I moved to 3/3.5 due to how much easier I found them than 2nd edition.
As I have stated a lot of times before I ran mot of the games I've ever been in. Bad as I may be I am a writer and the chance to tell stories and share works with others in a way that didn't include a rejection letter was lovely to me. My love for the Capcom arcade D&D lead me to place a number of games in that world, always taking place after the events of Shadows Over Mystara and always with absolutely no knowledge of the actual setting outside a map I found on line.
(Note: This is not the map I had but is the same land mass).
Most of the games started in the village of Luln and never made it past the Five Shires (which given I didn't have any information became Tolkien's Shire) or Ierendi. My players had fun, the adventures were interesting, but I always felt that my version of this world was one that would probably piss off the creators. I stole liberally from Tolkien, Capcom, Howard and Record of Lodoss War for my game and sometimes, I think my players noticed.
Today thanks to some excellent Google+ sharing I discovered two things!
1. Is that there was apparently an official guide to the Grand Duchy that I never knew existed and that WotC has just released it. GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos is over at dndclassics.com on sale for $4.99 (normally $10.00). I put it in my shopping cart and am just waiting for payday!
This is the first in a series - a completely new concept in gaming aids for the Dungeons & Dragons game system. Within these covers is a complete historical, economical, geographical, and sociological overview of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Entries on (and maps of) the major cities and towns, as well as biographical entries on the important figures in the Duchy, will aid the DM in preparing his own adventures as well as enrich the playing of published adventures.
In addition, there is a full-size, four-color map showing not only Karameikos itself, but also the capital city of Specularum, the city of Kelvin, and the town of Threshold. This map will be full compatible with those to follow in the series, so the DMs and players can put them side by side for comparison and/or play.
Beginning with the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, this series provides a rich tapestry of background material for player and DM alike, sure to benefit the gamer immeasurably.
So I am a tad bit giddy for this come Friday.
2. Apparently there is a Mystara magazine titled Threshold ... and it is free! I downloaded the first issue but at 100+ pages it may take me a bit to get through! Now the major question is, after making my way through both of these tomes of Mystara how much will I be cringing at how I butchered the world? Better yet, I much will it actually matter? I may be a little defensive, but my players enjoyed my game with ancient airships, the floating isle that appeared above Ierendi, the quest to defeat the invading forces of dark elves and beast men who came from that island ... and all for the Rod of Domination which lay hidden in the forgotten dwarven vaults under the humble fishing village of Luln.
After I'm done as well, I wonder if my daughter and her friends would mind a detour from the Mad Mage's tomb to explore some of Karameikos?