Mar 20, 2019

The Immortal Cleansing Introduction

Welcome to the fantasy world that began from the imaginations of Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay back in the mid 70’s. The original design was always meant to be shared and expanded by fans of the setting. TSR and then Wizards of the Coast have always pushed it aside for other settings (although it did get a mention in the 5e Dungeon Masters Guide in the section on Pantheons), such as Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms. They only published the setting for use with the original Basic D&D series, but it had some of the greatest sandbox modules, including Keep on the Borderlands and Isle of Dread.

Mystara grew over the decades into the red cursed Savage Coasts, adding the Blackmoor lore to its distant past, turned out to be a Hollow World filled with ancient civilizations and dinosaurs, has a hidden moon called Miyoshima, a wandering flying mechanical gnome city known as Serraine, and a portal to a strange location called Thunder Rift where some people speculate might actually be on Miyoshima.

Nowadays the expansion has continued among fans on sites like the Vaults of Pandius, which includes the work from Bruce Heard, who had a big hand in developing more information about another continent explored with the Voyages of the Princess Ark series. Glen Welch has also been a huge resource since discovering his 5e conversions of all kinds of classic setting materials. Thorfinn Tait is another great resource I've used to expand the cartography of Mystara with his amazing maps. There are so many more fans developing so much that it's impossible to mention everyone.

Over the decades, I've converted the setting and made modifications to it to suit my needs. I've incorporated a lot of ideas I've seen others share that really fleshed out the world. I've spent a lot of time developing my own fantasy world, but it wasn't ready to run a D&D campaign just yet and I have a large group of players wanting to get started. So, I went back to my version of Mystara. We started off using D&D 4e rules, so some veterans of 5e may not recognize some elements early on (like hamadryads, the Warden class, the Raven Queen, and a playable Pixie race).

Since the campaign begins deep in the nation of Karameikos, I focused much of the conversion to that region, modifying timelines and adding in lore to introduce races like Dragonborn. I've altered the list of the 150+ Immortals (what the gods are called in Mystara) to include several of the popular deities of 4e and 5e. Some, like Orcus, were already present, but Asmodeus, the Raven Queen, and several others were not. The planes of these deities are moved into the Spheres of Power that all Immortals belong to. This gave me nearly 200 Immortals to work with.

Some of this will be explained more as I post the stories of their adventures in Mystara. If you're a diehard fan of existing lore for Mystara you might not recognize some of the setting. Of course, if you're a DM and you're interested in something I posted, feel free to take it for your own campaigns. Unlike the fantasy world I've been building from scratch for my novels, I don't own anything from the Mystara setting and 100% of it all is either official published material or something I've taken from somewhere else like Kobold Press (a 3rd party game designer that makes great 5e material) or Vaults of Pandius.

Since I've added in so much 3rd party material, including hundreds of spells, I've reworked magic in this campaign. Casters learn a lot more spells and cantrips than before, making them more flexible. This also works for enemies. I flavor almost all sentient creatures with class abilities (something I picked up from 4e). There's a lot of other little tweaks to the rules, but the rest won't really matter to anyone reading the stories since the mechanics are all buried behind the story being told.

I'll have the first story coming out the next couple of weeks, which begins the first introduction of the characters. Several of the first stories will follow individual characters through events that lead them together before they set off on their big journey to save the world, or as some believe, the apocalypse.

I hope you enjoy the campaign “The Immortal Cleansing”. It's based off the Basic D&D Boxed set Wrath of the Immortals, which I've repurposed and flavored with all kinds of things. From some of the modules I'll be using pieces of are the Basic module Eye of Traldar, the original Basic D&D Keep on the Borderlands (which included the Caves of Chaos), and the 4e Keep on the Borderlands Adventure League season.

The next time you see me here, I'll be posting the first short story. See you then!

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