A: Mystara is an imaginary world created by TSR as a campaign world for roleplaying games using the rules of Dungeons and Dragons.
Q: What is a roleplaying game?
A: Roleplaying games are games in which people play the role of imaginary fantastic characters like warriors or wizards and try to complete an adventure under the guidance of a game master.
Q: I never heard of Mystara, but I know a setting called the Known World which looks pretty the same. What's the difference?
A: Mystara got a name as a world only recently; before that, it was often referred to as the Known World, although Mystara is more than just the Known World.
Q: So, what's Mystara? The Known World and what else?
A: Mystara is basically composed of 2 main parts, the Outer World and the Hollow World, plus 2 moons, and some other exotic settings.
Q: A Hollow World?
A: Yes. Mystara, unlike our earth, is hollow, an empty sphere. It has an internal sun that lights the interior world, making it inhabitable. It holds old civilizations that are now extinct on the Outer World, placed there by the Immortals with strong magic preventing them from evolving much or dying away. The only entrances to the Hollow World are through underground passages between the two worlds, and through the holes that stand in place of the north and south poles.
Q: And the Outer World?
A: The Outer World is mostly like our Earth. It comprises:
the Known World, where the most civilized countries are located,
the Savage Coast and Hule,
the southern continent, called Davania,
the eastern continent, called Skothar.
Q: I've already heard from the Known World, and from the Hollow World too, but never as Mystara. What does all this mean?
A: This is because Mystara is a very old world, one of the oldest created by TSR, and, as TSR grew, so did Mystara. All of these product lines are revelant to Mystara:
Mystara, of course,
the Known World and most stuff that were made for D&D (as opposed to AD&D) like these old good modules B and X, or the Gazetteers,
the Hollow World,
Red Steel/the Savage Coast,
Blackmoor. (Also, some products bearing the label First Quest are related to Mystara.)
Q: Blackmoor? I know a Blackmoor, but it's part of Greyhawk, isn't it?
A: Blackmoor was, like Greyhawk, the campaign world of one of TSR's founder. It was later placed in both Greyhawk and the Known World (as a past kingdom in the later), effectively making two Blackmoors exist. It seems there is no relation between the two Blackmoors, however, although some people made the assumption.
Q: Ok, and now what's Red Steel?
A: Red Steel is a setting that is part of Mystara (west of the Known World), although it was released as a stand-alone setting.
Q: You spoke of Immortals, what are they? Are they Gods?
A: Mystara has a different pantheon when compared to other D&D settings. Most notably, it has no gods, but beings called Immortals. Immortals are mortals who, through their deeds, have reached a higher status granting them more power than mere mortals. Basically, however, Immortals are not very different from Gods of other settings.
Q: Also you mentionned something about D&D not being AD&D. What does that mean?
A: Mystara was the world designed to be used with the rules of D&D (often called OD&D to better distinct it from AD&D and from the generic term D&D which could mean both; OD&D stands for Old D&D or Original D&D). It appeared in the old boxed rules: the Expert box, the Companion box and the Master box. Most of the earlier modules designed for D&D were set in this world. Recently, however, Mystara has been converted to AD&D (along with Red Steel), but many people who play in Mystara do it with the old rules (or their reedition, Rules Cyclopedia).
Q: I heard that the Mystara line was cancelled. Is this true?
A: It is unfortunately true. And Red Steel is cancelled too. Some novels pertaining to Mystara may be released as part of the First Quest line, and modules may be part of the Odyssey line. AFAIK, there is no such products in preparation however. Joshuan's Almanach was the last product of Mystara (to be precise the novel "The Black Vessel" has been released after, and to be even more precise it deals with the Savage Coast) and the Savages Baronies the last of Red Steel (except for online exclusives).
Q: But I saw in TSR's preview that there would be Red Steel modules released as online exclusive. What does this mean?
A: TSR will release these modules for free on its site of MPGN at ftp://ftp.mpgn.com and on AOL and GEnie.
Q: So, if TSR has dropped the line, how can I get new material for Mystara?
A: There are many people on the web who love Mystara and have taken upon themselves to keep Mystara alive (and well alive). There is a mailing list dedicated to Mystara where people discuss together about it, exchanging ideas, points of view, and more. To subscribe, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body, have the single line: subscribe Mystara-L . There are also many pages around the net dedicated to Mystara, sometimes with lots of interesting materials. The pages I am aware of are:
Q: Where can I find a complete list of the material published for Mystara?
A: AFAIK there is no such list. However, there are partial lists: one about all adventures published by TSR for Mystara, one with all the rulebooks published by TSR for Mystara, one with all Dragon #s with the Voyage of the Princess Ark, one with all Dragon #s of adventures that take place in Mystara. Check the above links to find these lists. Also check TSR's list of products at http://members.aol.com/tsrinc/products.html. The most complete list to my knowledge is at http://moray.ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au/~knight/mystara/prodlist.html (I think it is almost a complete one except for the most recent products).
Q: Where can I find the FAQ for the Mystara mailing list?