Monday, April 12, 2021

News - Jeff Grubb's Lost Manuscript of the Mystara Setting for AD&D 2e to be Released for Free Later This Year

WotC actually gets it!

Sure, their attempts to appease the loud voices that don't actually play their games often fall flat, both with fans and those with the loud voices. This time, it's the less loud, but consistent voices that got heard, and I tip my hat to WotC for doing right by the fans of Mystara, also known as The Known World.

On Saturday, April 10th, over on the Piazza, it was announced that Jeff Grubb's lost manuscript of the Mystara Setting for AD&D 2e was going to be released to fans for free later this year at The Vaults of Pandius

Indeed, the cat is out of the bag now - I had been intending to make the announcement on the release of the unpublished AD&D Mystara worldbook. I had been in contact with Wizards of the Coast from whom I received consent to release it. Since then I've been working on editing the document to tidy it up, and to learn some graphic design to put the product into a more polished output. Given that the 25th anniversary of the Vaults was coming up I thought that that would be an appropriate date to work towards its release.

Further details can be found at Havard's Blackmore Blog

The Mystara Sourcebook was commissioned by TSR in 1990s and was to be part of the companies relaunch of the Classic D&D setting under the AD&D 2nd Edition rules. Mystara first appeared in published form in 1980 with the release of the adventure X1 Isle of Dread and was from that point on the default setting of the B/X and BECMI D&D line which also incorporated Blackmoor. 

Sadly, the nearly completed book that Jeff Grubb had written was never published as curious reversals of decisions within TSR's management and sales department at the time suddenly decided that instead of a book presenting all of Mystara to AD&D 2nd Ed fans, they instead wanted a product focusing only on the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. 

Jeff Grubb describes some of the contents of "the lost manuscript" on his blog, Grubb Street

Lastly, there were suggestions of publishing this anyway. The document itself was in first draft state and then abandoned before it was completed, is awash in typos, sarcastic comments, and unfinished sections. It is unplaytested, unreviewed, unrevised, and untouched by human hands. Even with permission, it would need a lot of work. So I have doubts about its usefulness, other than as a historic artifact. But I am posting here a summary of what survived in the files I had printed out at the time.  I'll point out that most of them are just gatherings of previous information scattered about the various Gazetteers, updated and brought into 2nd edition. Here's how it all broke down: (you'll need to go to the source to see the breakdown).

If you'd prefer a video recap, you can find it here:

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