June 13, 2024

#UnboxingDay – Mystara 5e Player’s Guide

Brant Guillory, 18 November 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay

OK, so this is more “#Unbooking” than unboxing, but bear with us.

Mystara was the game world originally introduced in the TSR classic X1, originally just referred to as “The Known World” and getting its own name when the Gazetteers rolled around.  There’s a lot more detail here, with a look through most of what was published for this game world when it was officially in print.


Mystara has shown far more staying power than most people would ever expect, and for a setting whose official support died 25 years ago, it’s remarkable that there’s a 25-year-plus repository of fan-supported content, a quarterly magazine, and one of the best RPG-world video series on YouTube.
Oh, and ICYMI, we’re co-sponsoring MystaraCon 2021 as a first attempt to support the community with a digital convention.

What’s needed?  Something to bring Mystara into the 21st century with the new 5th edition of the D&D rules.  So here comes the Mystara Player’s Guide, offering exactly that.


click images to enlarge


This book was created entirely by fans, under the 5th ed version of the OGL.  It’s free to download the PDFs, and they’re preset to match the printing requirements from Lulu.com, so you can order your won POD version of it.  The creators are not getting a dime from this, unless you donate something in appreciation of their troubles.  The hardcover you see here is my copy, ordered through Lulu, for about $50.  You can get cheaper copies by either (1) going softcover, or (2) lowering the interior paper quality, or (3) just reading it on your computer.  It’s worth the $50 version.



And you can’t tell that it’s not a professional product.  I’ve seen far, far worse created & published by actual game companies, for comparable costs.



The table of contents shows that it’s a combination of a rulebook, social studies book, and collected miscellany of Mystara, but offers an excellent overview of the world, and why it’s as awesome as it is.



Mystara’s canonical timeline got built up to a certain point, through the Poor Wizard’s Almanac series.  After that, the fans took over and there’s a community-recognized timeline that’s been treated as canon by everyone over the past 20+ years.



It’s scaled down to fit into the book, but here’s the original X1 map, fully hexed out with the major details brought in from the trail map level of detail that’s since been incorporated by the incomparable Thorfinn Tait.



It’s hard to stress this enough – this is a fan-made book that is not sanctioned by any official game publisher.  The bang-for-your-buck as an RPG fan is hard to overstate.



The Northern Reaches are just one of the areas that’s heavily detailed in the players guide.  Maps, magic, and menaces, all found in these pages.


Subclasses, organizations, NPCs, and more are all found within the 220-odd pages of this excellent book.


Want to spend some more time with the Mystarans?  Join us for MystaraCon 2021.

Oh, and for an encore?  There’s a DM’s guide in progress right now.


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
The regiment also occasionally musters on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and occasionally at a convention near you, once we’re allowed to hold them again.

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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