Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review & Commentary On the Free OSR Resource - Threshold Magazine Issue #13 & 14 For Your Mystara and Old School Campaigns.

So I decided to take a break from the constant patter of sleet & crap that passes for weather last night and today. The co dungeon masters & old school friends have retreated to their lairs for this evening giving me a chance to play catch up with Threshold magazine.
Threshold is an odd OSR beast that picks up where TSR dropped the ball & continues fan & professional work on Mystara. "Mystara is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role playing game. It was the default setting for the "Basic" version of the game popular through the 1980s & 90's."

Because of my fondness for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor I came to appreciate Mystara because it tucked away the original setting into its background; whist Blackmoor continued under Mr. Arneson's guidance. I digress again, Threshold magazine issue number #13 has a bevy of undead horror & ecology under its hood where we learn about the Shadow Deep. We'll get to that setting next issue but this one also contains a very nice look at a Treatise on the History of Lycanthropy. I almost wanted to grow fur after looking through it.


We dive into Nations of the Duskward Rim which is a very well done little romp into the Hallow Earth setting. Then we follow through into some of the trade cities & a few very useful bits for a DM who wants to favor the Hallow World. Then its back top side for The Unknown World Trail map which covers all of the major bits of the Known World. Then Hesperia - the Dungeon master’s Guide which has a ton of useful information for setting adventures in this nasty & interesting realm. The real highlight for me was the "Using Blackmoor In Your Mystara" campaigns article. As a Blackmoor & Mystara fan this is a must read & it actually has some useful bits & pieces to it. I really liked it.

The B solo adventure for an apprentice thief is a fun little adventure for an apprentice thief for the lone player. Its not actually a bad little affair and has some mettle to its contents. And then there's a cartoon and that rounds out this issue. Be warned it clocks in at two hundred & seventy four pages of material. Issue #14 is a wee bit more reasonable only clocking in at 192 pages of Mystara goodness This issue goes into the 'Shadow Deep'; the Shadow Deep is basically the Mystara Underdark created by the fan community. But its a wee bit more then what it first seems. The Mystara Underdark is an onion like setting that is mind boggling. A brief introduction goes something like this;"The Shadowdeep is a vast realm, so vast it contains entire worlds, great nations, lost cultures and incredible secrets.
A few brave people, even entire communities, have faced the Shadowdeep and triumphed, some even reaching down to the Hollow World, the land of the red sun, and some instead reaching up from the Hollow World to the strange Outer World of day and night.
Threshold magazine presents in this issue the secrets and the treasures of the Shadowdeep, for you to discover and take. But not all of them, because the Shadowdeep is so vast you could roam it for your entire life, and never return to the worlds of the light. "
And this is a very accurate description of the world of the Shadowdeep.

In another article written by me in this same issue, “Through the Shadowdeep, From Karameikos to the Hollow World”, I have imagined up to 50 different underground levels or layers (but regions would be a
better term) from the surface world to the Hollow World. Here however I will examine only the four levels nearest to the Known World surface. All four should be considered
part of an Upperdeep macro-region comprising the levels which maintain, in a way or another, close relations with the surface of the Known World."
It goes on & on with population break downs, monster nations, setting details, & more. You could run and entire series of campaigns here & still have material for more. "Deep Hallows" article goes into monsters, PC monster classes, and creature details of the Shadow Deep setting. 'Through the Shadow Deep' details more of this setting & more of the inner world on DM level for adventure creation & more.
'The Broken Lands Detailed' is exactly what it sounds like a completely on the ground examination of the Broken Lands material from its history, details, & much more. All complete for a DM to take full advantage of for adventure location details and creation.

The Not So Young Races examines the Gnomes & Dwarves of Brun & goes into a ton of detail about these two elder races of Mystara. There a lot to digest and use if your looking to fill in background and material for these races. History, background, conflicts, wars, and more fill out this article.

Adventure Hooks, Red herrings & the Information Mesh is a fine little article detailing adventure material within Mystara & how it all works within the setting and how to make it work for you the DM. The material here is very detailed and full of good ideas to use at the table. Lots of useful charts, random tables, and more fill out this article. There is a ton of the material here with accuracy and gauging how accuracy your rumors are by the distance in the setting.
A Gazetteer of Limn Part 3 is a full on gazetteer guide to the region, there is a ton of stuff here if your looking for even more information on Limn. Setting up adventures, adventurers backgrounds and more would be a snap with what's presented in this article but go back and get parts one and two as well to make sure you have everything your going to need.
A word to the wise DM from me to you is to download the supplemental maps & material from these and other issues from Pandius.com, they're going to make your life a lot easier if you want to run this material as adventure fodder.

GRAB ISSUE #14 Of Threshold
Magazine Right Over Here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.