Thursday, April 26, 2018

On the Radar: Dawn of the Emperors is out!

So, for those Mystara-philes out there, here's something of interest:

The classic Gazetteer boxed set, Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia, is now in available on DriveThruRPG.

I haven't picked it up yet, mostly because I've yet to run any kind of D&D game again, let alone in my "Dark Corners" version of Mystara.

But I do have fond memories of flipping through the pages and reading through the maps -- and thinking about how I would go about tweaking it for my game.

Apparently, the instructions given to the late Aaron Allston for this set were "to make Thyatis a country that specialized in the concerns of the fighter class, while Alphatia would be a magocracy." Of course, given the linear progression of power for fighters, and the exponential progression of power for mages, it makes sense that Thyatis would have spellcasters with a martial bent, while Alphatia would have fighters (treated as second class citizens, however).

To my mind, Thyatis really draws on historical Rome / Byzantine Empire, which has a different set of cultural touchstones in the wake of TV series like Rome, Spartacus, and so on. Alphatia is a bit of a mystery to me -- this is a culture that has access to great magical power, and is actively engaged in research, but is also of a chaotic bent. Since, according to canon, "Alphatia, a land of magicians, was itself colonized by people from another world", the argument can be made that perhaps it is meant to be a very alien culture that has grown into an Empire.

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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