Design Dungeons & Dragons Gazetteer Roleplaying Tools

DnD Mystara Part 09 Setting Overview

Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara

Design – Part 9 – Setting Overview

What is Mystara?

Mystara is the D&D setting when there were two D&D franchises. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) vs Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D). AD&D started with Greyhawk, D&D started with Mystara.

The Mystara setting encompass The Known World, The Hollow World, Red Steel and the Savage Baronies, and is where Blackmoor was originally based.

When AD&D moved to 2nd edition they brought the world of Mystara to that edition so it then spanned both version.

What is BECMI?

This is know as the Basic Expert Companion Master Immortals (or BECMI) ruleset.

Known mainly for the the following differences vs Advanced Dungeons & Dragons:
– Class and Race were the same
– Levels went up to 36
– Spells were not as complex to cast
– Weapon Mastery
– Skills (though AD&D 2.5 incorporated some of this)
– Gemstone dragons
– Ability for Hero’s to join the pantheon of Immortals (instead of Gods, the world was governed by Immortals with the powers of gods)

The BECMI boxed sets for the Original Dungeons and Dragons game

What is the Rules Cyclopedia?

The Rules were all condensed into a single volume called the Rules Cyclopedia which is an good resource having the majority of the rules from the five different books, omitting the Immortals rules (for future release as “Wrath of the Immortals”) and removing the world references and adventures present in each boxed set.

Rules Cyclopedia compilation of BECMI rules

Why did I choose this setting?

I have run this world for 30 years, in every version of Dungeons & Dragons and this is how I have changed the setting to make it my own for 5th Edition based on player choices and how things have turned out in games. With discussion from the players we wanted to get everyone out of their comfort zone and experience different characters and races that they would not normally take.

Original Constraints

The original concept for this episodic campaign was as follows:

  • Each player has a character in each Gazetteer (country) of the setting.
  • They can’t choose the same class twice.
  • The need to choose different race options.
  • They need to choose different subclass options that have not already been used in the campaign.
  • They cover the first 4 years of the campaign world from AC 1000 to 1004 and each year gives them a character level.
  • They get a random item roll on the treasure table each to share amongst themselves and 500 gp for each game year completed.
  • Using 5E ruleset and published books by Wizard of the Coast
  • All half-races are sterile and come from magical or divine intervention, each Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Tiefling or Aasimar is unique and a dead point on their family tree. Preferred not to be in game and requires Dungeon Master approval before being allowed to play.
  • Dragonborn are the littermates of a dragon born to be their servants.
  • Unearthed Arcana to be allowed with GM permission only and will be denied in most cases. Though you are welcome to try and surprise me with how well it fits with the campaign, the setting and the storyline.
  • It is expected that they will have 4 to 8 sessions in each of the Gazetteer regions and learn the fluff of the countries in the setting and along the way while getting a feel for each of the character options. The first one went a little overboard and tested out some of the other rules including training and other downtime activities.
  • Once they have completed the tour of the “Known World” region they will then start on the “Wrath of the Immortals” campaign with characters taken from all of the completed mini campaigns they participated in.
Updated Constraints

This concept needed to be refined and now the setting has becomes the following:

  • Each player needs to provide an annotated stat block design to highlight were ability and items were obtained.
  • Each game year the characters advance 1 level in the 12th and final month of the year. The year of the game world determines the level.
  • Characters are point buy only.
  • Redefined races based on the five element concept and needs to be consulted with GM to determine homeland, background, racial and class options.
  • Unless you are a practitioner of a Immortal or a Pantheon there are no death saves, and you can’t be brought back from the dead. Reaching 0 hp is death.
  • Magical items are all customised – they have an unattuned, attuned, awakened and exalted state.
  • The adventures are all incorporated into the timeline, providing hooks in each nation each year. This includes all published BECMI and 5E material.
  • Secret Crafts are incorporated into the storyline and will be a big part of the 2020 campaign.
  • Weapon Mastery will be cleaned up and made available.

The World of Mystara

World of Mystara

This is the gaming world where all the fun takes place. This world has a history of a great cataclysm the changed the seasons and brought down all the great civilisations at the time. This was BC 3,000. The game is centred around the eastern end of the continent of Brun and the islands in between it and the continent of Skothar. This is the focus of the campaign.

The Continent of Brun

The Continent of Brun

The continent of Brun has two main regions that come into play in the storyline. The Kurish Massif down to the islands along the coast form the region known as the Known World.

The Wyrmsteeth mountains up to the White Sea is the location of the Norwold region.

To the right across the sea of dawn is the heart of the Alphatian Empire.

The Known World Region

The region of Mystara called the “Known World” where the Gazetteer series is based

This is the centre of the campaign, characters are expected to come from one of these countries and share the common tongue of Thyatian. This may not be a starting language for some and something they have learned as a necessity by the time they reach 5th level and become a national hero.

The Gazetteer Series are as follows: (with cultural similarity)

The Known world has cultures and a level of technology development that resembles the Europe of our Earth around 15th century. The known world does not have gunpowder or the printing press, but in many other ways the two worlds are similar.

Late-medieval feudalism is the most common system of government: A nobleman, usually a powerful warrior, rules a region of land, occupying a stronghold (often a castle) at its capital, guarding the region and enforcing his laws with soldiers normally drawn from the local population. The peasants of his region pay him taxes and services; he, in turn, protects them against invaders and evildoers.

Just as the peasants serve the noble, so too does the noble serve a greater ruler, a king or emperor. The petty noble supplies taxes to the greater ruler, and in times of war supports him with soldiers and additional money, and often must campaign with his king. The greater ruler, in turn, is obliged to protect the lesser ruler’s claim to nobility, and to help protect the lesser noble in times of invasion. The oath of mutual services and support sworn between them is known as the oath of fealty.

The Norwold Region

This is not a starting region, but contains the home of the high elves, dragons and a few other nations. If and when players want to start looking at setting up their own nation, here is where they will have the best chance of doing so.

What is the Wrath of the Immortals?

The wrath of the immortals is a campaign about a great war that shakes the foundations of the known world and the reality of the world itself.

This will put all the characters into a morality of what side should they take as any of them can be seen as correct, when you look at how they view the world.

This will be taking place while all the other elements of the setting are taking advantage of the conflict to put their own plots in motion, and this is the basis of including all the 5E supplements happening at the same time.

I have also re-written it to take 20 years from initiation to completion in line with the characters levelling.

The Wrath of the Immortals set and storyline

What is Immortality?

Immortality in this setting is who represents the Gods of the world. Totalling 166 at the start of the storyline AC 1000.

This storyline does include the possibility of characters achieving immortality, the existing immortals will be sourced from the BECMI material and those found on the Vaults of Pandius website then adapted to 5th Edition.

Further Information

I intend to have a variety of blogs, which I will expand over time on the setting as adapted to my storyline. (Update – 1,500 posts so far)

Information on this setting can be found at the following:

Content Updates

  • 2021-08-03 – Fixing the menu.
  • 2021-07-29 – Added overview back into the title and cleaned the page up.
  • 2020-04-23 – Migration of content from my google site.
  • 2020-04-18 – Clean up.
  • 2019-12-12 – Updating the content including the locations of Known World and Norwold regions.
D&D Gazetteer

Mystara setting

The Known World Region: Alfheim, Atruaghin Clans, Broken Lands, Darokin, Ethengar, Five Shires, Glantri, Ierendi, Karameikos, Minrothad, Northern Reaches, Rockhome, Shadowlands, Ylaruam

Other Places of Note: Alphatia and Thyatis, Norwold Region, Thunder Rift

Hollow World

WRATH Design

Setting Design:
Part 1 – Five Elements,
Part 2 – Five Spheres,
Part 3 – Pantheons,
Part 4 – Divine Features,
Part 5 – Reference Material,
Part 6 – Races,
Part 7 – Secret Crafts,
Part 8 – Weapons Mastery,
Part 9 – Setting,
Part 10 – Timeline,
Part 11 – Magical Item,
Part 12 – Classes,
Part 13 – Downtime,
Part 14 – Immortality,
Part 15 – Elemental Aspects,
Part 16 – Immortal Patrons,
Part 17 – New Directions,
Part 18 – Symbols

Kingdom Building:
Part 1 – Mapping

D&D 5E in Mystara

D&D MenuAdventures, Artefacts, Backgrounds, Classes, Dominions, Downtime, Feats, Gazetteers, Gods, Magical Items, Monsters, Organisations, Pantheons, Races, Ranks & Titles, Rune Magic, Secret Crafts, Settlements, Spells, Timeline, Weapons Mastery

WRATH: Campaign, Design

Game ManagementAnnotated Stat Block, Character Creation, Choosing a New Campaign, Gaming over Skype, GM’s Luck Roll, Tracking Experience

Class Builds
Artificer – Bombardier (Tinkerkin),
Barbarian – Totem Warrior (Plamin, Camdu),
Bard – College of Valour (Sunfey),
Druid – Circle of Dreams (Woodfey), Circle of the Tree of Life (Seasonfey),
Fighter – Battlemaster (Seashire), Eldritch Knight (Kerendan), Weapons Master (Lani), Weapons Master (Stonebound),
Monk – Way of the Elements (Tidal),
Paladin – Oath of Radiance (Sunfey), Oath of Vengeance (Firechild),
Sorcerer – Wild Magic (Shadowfey),
Warlock – Celestial (Llewell),
Wizard – Bladesinger (Nerye),
Dragon – White (Calcryx).
Multiclass – Cleric/Wizard (Xhall), Rogue/Cleric (Dracnomir), Rogue/Sorcerer (Yodrey), Wizard/Rogue (Traladaran)


Session RecordingsCampaign Journals

Library of Books

B5, d20 System, Pathfinder, SW

Main Logo

This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.

Basic Links: Who Am I?, Home, Game Tools, Game Session Videos, My Campaigns, My Library, Site Map, Subscription Information

Game Systems: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder 1 & 2, Shadowrun, Star Wars. Other Game Systems

Site sponsored by the author AS Hamilton (my wife) with her books available on amazon kindle.


By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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