Design Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Tools

DnD Mystara Part 05 Reference Material

Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara

Design Part 5 – The Reference Material

For the conversion of Mystara to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons I have pulled together many difference sources. Here is a list of material I am incorporating into my world building and why.

Dungeon Masters Guide
dmg – Dungeon Masters Guide 5E

What Material to Use

There are a broad range of material out there now for D&D 5th Edition, but the main issue is what material should I be drawing upon to build my world and make it unique.

The main criteria for using a sourcebook is that I have it available to me either digitally or physically with a preference for both.

  • Physical Book – Allow me to have a texture and a smell associated with reading the book that improves memory retention of what I have read.
  • Electronic Copy – Allows for easier cross referencing and incorporation of material in my setting.


What does it stand for: Beginner, Expert, Companion, Master and Immortal rules for Dungeons and Dragons. Another instance of the use of the number 5 in the setting.

These are the core of the setting, and beloved by a lot of gamers. This features are series of books called Gazetteers, adventure modules and supplements to support the world. I will be incorporating all this material into my world as the foundations. I might not come out the same as everyone remembers, but that is the fun of having a home game. The most used book in this series is the Rules Cyclopedia. The Hollow World Material will feature in this material as well.

The core of the storyline will be the “Wrath of the Immortals” three part adventure, which will be re-written and stretched out over 20 character levels with each level representing one in-game year. The events that occur in the four years of the core story now cover most of that twenty year timeline.

A majority of the material used for the game comes from this set of rules and products: Gazetteers, Adventures and unique rules. The flavour is also set here as it is where the theme of the five spheres, weapons mastery and secret crafts originated from.

AD&D 2nd Edition

Dungeons and Dragons was split into two different lines, D&D and AD&D. The “A” represented “Advanced”. The two rules were similar yet very different in play. Basic had races as classes, while Advanced separated characters into racial and class options.

There was a noticeable quality improvement in some of the material as it moved from class is race to races can have classes too. (one of the core differences used to tell D&D and AD&D apart) In my setting these are set after the Wrath of the Immortals storyline so feature in the games future and won’t be used to help build the campaign material. I may pull in elements of Red Steel and the Savage Coast, depending on story needs.

Wizards of the Coast

The new 5th ed rules and adventures will become the rules set and core storylines of the campaign. I am taking apart all the adventures and instead of having them run one game year apart as hinted at in some of the material, to have them all happening at the same time.

This also means that I will be finding regions in Mystara to match up with regions of the forgotten realms (or other places) so the adventures can be based in similar themed areas.

  • Acquisitions Inc – Darokin/Minrothad guilds, Downtime, World Building
  • Balders Gate – Descent into Averus – Thyatis Empire
  • Curse of Strahd – Around Glantri and Karameikos
  • Ghost of Saltmarsh – Ierendi and Minrothad
  • Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica – Alphatian Empire
  • Out of the Abyss – Shadowlands
  • Princes of the Apocalypse – Northern Reaches to Glantri
    • Red Larch: Set in the region bordering Ethengar and The Northern Reaches
    • Necromancers Cave: Set near Red Larch
    • Tomb of Moving Stones: Set under Red Larch
    • Iceshield Orcs: Set in Mountains east of Ethengar
  • Storm Kings Thunder – where giants can be found. Karameikos, Minrothad, Northern Reaches, Nowrold Region, Rockhome, Ylaruam
  • Tales of the Yawning Portal – Rockhome, Atruaghin Clans, Karameikos and Glantri
    • The Yawning Portal: set in Darokin City.
    • The Sunless Citadel: set in ruins of Jhyrrad, Rockhome
    • The Forge of Fury: set in ruins of Jhyrrad, Rockhome (below the sunless citadel)
    • The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan: set in ruins of Atruaghin Palace, Atruaghin Clans
    • White Plume Mountain: set in Karameikos, west of Threshold.
    • Dead in Thay – Glantri
    • Against the Giants – Northern Reaches
    • Tome of Horrors – Broken Lands
  • Tomb of Annihilation – Isle of Dawn, Thyatian Empire/Alphatian Empire
  • Tyranny of Dragons – Darokin swamps to Wyrmsteeth mountians
    • Greenest in Flames: Set in Fort Marny, Darokin
    • Raider’s Camp: Set in Melpheggi Swamp, Darokin
    • Dragon Hatchery: Set in Melpheggi Swamp, Darokin
  • Waterdeep – Dragon Heist – Darokin City
  • Waterdeep – Dungeon of the Mad Mage – Darokin City

This will make the main sub plots to be weaving through the storyline, each with their own Immortals involved in the planning, progress and conclusion. This is the timeline of the most immortal plots coming to conclusion in the history of the setting, so much upheaval is expected to happen in the pantheons, immortal hierarchies and of course with the world at large.

Other Wizards of the Coast Products set for 5th Edition.

Other Publishers

AAW Games

I stumbled across these guys on Kickstarter with their Mini-Dungeon Tome and picked it up with their Underworld Races & Classes. With these two books I have an encounter without the need to plan, and I have a wonderful expansion to the underworld. I am waiting on Rise of the Drow book as I have loved their material to date, and like the concept.

While Drow are not officially in the Mystara setting, there are a group of Underground elves that deal with the Entropic (or Fiendish) Immortals and dabble in sentient sacrifice (not really human sacrifice if they also kill other races) and could use this as a base for their culture.

En Publishing

These guys have made a good collection of comman magical items to help pad out my games and make them more interesting.

Frog God Games

I have played with their Lost Lands setting since they first started releasing material under the Necromancer Games badge and continued to pick up their Pathfinder material and now most of their 5th Edition books.

I intend to make parts of the Lost Lands migrate to Mystara and fill out one of the other continents with their material. This gives me something I can just drop into place for when my players venture that way in the storyline.

Goodman Games

These guys have released two fantastic Mystara supplements that I am taking as is and dropping into my world where they were meant to sit:
Into the Borderland – Darokin or Karameikos
Isle of Dread – actually at the Isle of Dread

I know there is more to come, so will add them as they reach my shelves.

Green Ronin

These guys came to PAX AU (and they didn’t learn from the first one and came back) and are the only company I have met in person. I had a great time talking games with Chris and Nichole and they remembered talking with me the year before. This might have contributed to me buying the Critical Role book and the Book of the Righteous. This was a good thing as these books are amazing and have expanded my game world.

They also gave me the idea and push to rework the gods and make sense of them for my setting. (see the Immortals blog entry)

Kobold Press

The Midgard setting really gives me a lot of inspiration for building up the Norse mythology that already exists in the Northern Reaches section of the Known World region.

And their material on Deep Magic has been used to expand my worlds spellcasters, and they have a new kickstarter hopefully delivering cleaned up material shortly.

The third thing that have done to make my games better is the Tome of Beasts and Creature Codex. I have players to call out monster stats during the game, even though their characters don’t know this information. Less of an issue with this material, but the players in question are a work in progress as I teach them game etiquette. Also I value their friendship so I am happy to work with them on this. (Sometimes it is “I’m a GM in another game syndrome” and they just struggle to switch off as a player)

Legendary Games

Some of the nicest people in the industry to deal with (though to be honest I have not found bad ones, just those I no longer deal with). They have a range of books for 5th edition that grew out of work for Pathfinder, which is almost like coming back full circle as pathfinder grew out of dungeons and dragons.

So I incorporate their Forest Kingdoms, Pirates and Kingdom material in my campaign designs.

Rite Publishing

These people have quite a few interesting products that can add to your game. One of those is the ability to play a dragon in the game that plays fair at level.

References by Type

  • Known World
    • Broken Lands
    • Darokin
    • Karameikos
    • Thyatian Empire
    • Ylaruam
  • Mystara Expanded
    • Alphatian Empire
  • Rheddrian Investigations
  • Domain of Dread






Magical Items:



World Building:

Known World – Atruaghin Clans

Known World – Broken Lands

Known World – Darokin

Known World – Ethengar Khanattes

Known World – Glantri

Known World – Ierendi

Known World – Karameikos

Known World – Minrothad

Known World – Northern Reaches

Known World – Rockhome

Known World – Shadowlands

Known World – Thyatian Empire

Known World – Ylaruam

Mystara Expanded – Alphatian Empire

Mystara Expanded – Norwold Region

Rheddrian Investiagions

Domain of Dread (Ravenloft)

Web Resources

The first place for anyone to stop by is the Vaults of Pandius. They are a fantastic resource for all things Mystara. Not everything is cannon to the setting, but great resources there.

Hopefully my blog posts, which I intend to update as I go, will become another good reference. I had a website, but it was become to unwieldy to manage with all the references I needed to keep straight.

Personal Game Notes

I had moved to offline documentation and started creating a series of PDF’s for my players to help organise the games better. These were not working as well as I would like so I have started to move them all over to the blog and expanding things as I go. So far I have:

I would have to say that most are still a work in progress and refer to each other at times. And I have brought these back online as part of an in-development blog (this site) to enhance and develop the material in a place players can find things.

A Thank you to Authors on these products

  • Aaron Allston – GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, GAZ6 The Dwarves of Rockhome, GAZ Dawn of the Emperors, Hollow World, Wrath of the Immortals
  • Jim Bambra – GAZ12 The Golden Khan of Ethengar
  • Deborah Christian – GAZ9 The Minrothad Guilds
  • William W. Connors – GAZ14 The Atruaghin Clans
  • David Cook – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B6 The Veiled Society
  • Kim Eastland – GAZ9 The Minrothad Guilds
  • Ed Greenwood – GAZ8 The Five Shires
  • Gary Gygax – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, Book of Marvelous Magic
  • Scott Haring – GAZ11 The Republic of Darokin
  • Bruce Heard – GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar, The Book of Wondrous Inventions
  • Tracy and Laura Hickman – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B7 Rahasia
  • Michael Malone – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B8 Journey to The Rock
  • Anne Gray McCready – GAZ4 The Kingdom of Ierendi
  • Frank Mentzer – Book of Marvelous Magic
  • Tom Moldvay – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
  • Douglas Niles – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B5 Horror on the Hill
  • Harry Nuckols – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond
  • Steve Perrin – GAZ5 The Elves of Alfheim
  • Ken Rolston – GAZ2 The Emirates of Ylaruam, GAZ7 The Northern Reaches
  • Carl Sargent – GAZ13 The Shadow Elves
  • Gary Thomas – GAZ13 The Shadow Elves
  • Jean Wells – B1-9 In Search of Adventure, B3 Palace of the Silver Princess


I think I have a lot of material to draw upon before I start to look for more, but I will incorporate new ideas as I clean up the exiting concepts. I am enjoying working on the game, and writing these so I will continue while it is still fun.

Content Updates

  • 2021-03-09 – Work on layout and content.
  • 2020-04-18 – Restructure and cleanup.
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 (Ethegnarian), Totem Warrior (Heldannic), 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 (Makai), Weapons Master (Stonebound), Monk – Way of the Elements (Waterchild), Paladin – Oath of Radiance (Sunfey), Oath of Vengeance (Firechild), Sorcerer – Wild Magic (Shadowfey), Warlock – Celestial (Sunfey), Wizard – Bladesinger (Seasonfey), Dragon – White. Multiclass – Cleric/Wizard (Ethengarian), Rogue/Cleric (Atruaghin), Rogue/Sorcerer (Seashire), Wizard/Rogue (Traladaran)


Session Recordings – Campaign 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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