On Threshold: A Review

Threshold: Issue 1
The first issue of Threshold is out. It is produced by the Vaults of Pandius as a resource for Mystara, a Dungeons and Dragons world.

It's free, so many people are likely to download it! But are you likely to use it?

It is 180 pages, and free. It's done by fans because they love Mystara. It's a nostalgia trip, if you've ever read a gazetteer.

Check out those Hot and Sexy Demographics on her


I am a true believer in minimal gaming presentation. The value in a gaming product intended for use at the table is to provide the minimal amount of information needed for the maximum use at the table.

This by those standards is atrocious. But that isn't what this is.

It's a magazine.

Do you like reading about the cartography of an ancient and magical world? Do you like Demographics porn? Do hot 6% populations of orcs turn you on? Do population values per square mile of rural land turn your crank?

So the authors love this world. They have read every source, and discuss, at length how to resolve every conflict in the cannon, where modules would most likely be placed in the 'real' Mystara, and most importantly, spend substantial space discussing their own particular personal variations of the world of Mystara. Well, Karameikos at any rate.

It is a travel guide and travelogue written by a native who loves their land. 

I know way way more than I would ever need to know about timelines, historical lineages, hidden history, arrangements of land, marriages, and current political tensions of a land that never was.

I also know where that bastard Bargle lives and how to kill him. 

In short, if you like to read these kinds of things for pleasure, or perhaps in preparation for running a campaign set in the Karameikos, then this is something you'll enjoy. If your looking for a resource to use at the table

Integration


The nice thing about this work is that it is written by erudite adults.

They have referenced every source, from modules in Dungeon magazine, to fan produced publications to official releases and sources. If something mentions Karameikos, then they note it here.

The other thing is that nothing is whitewashed. Women may kill themselves in the rural borderland areas when pregnant with orc or ogre seed. It does not assume that the players are 12 year old boys and handles mature and violent concepts as a matter of course.

Conclusion

My thoughts are that it would work best, either on a color e-reader or as a printed volume. It is just that - a document to be read from a love of history of a world that never was, as written by a historian. That is to say it is full of words

If you are looking for maximizing your idea per-page value, that will not be found here. It does not present the gaming information that is relevant or of use at the table very efficiently. What it does do, is immerse you in a fantasy realm. Some may find this boring, but I imagine, based on how the Gazateers actually sold that many do not. 

A list of the contents follows:
  • Editorial & List of Authors
  • 30th Anniversary of Red Box D&D
  • The Demography of Karameikos : Summarizing information from all available printed sources to provide a detailed overview of the land (Wordiness: *** Interest: **)
  • The History of Karameikos : A timeline of events throughout the history of the land (Wordiness: *** Interest: ***)
  • Karameikos - The Hidden Years : An extrapolation about years not detailed and events that occurred based on inferences from printed sources (Wordiness: ** Interest: **)
  • Thorn's Mystara : A description of the way Robert Nuttman uses and portrays Mystara in play (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • Bruce Heard Interview : An interview with Bruce Heard, the "manager" of the Gazateer line in which he discusses his future plans for the known world (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • Unveiling the Radu Clan : Discussing the veiled society and Radu family originating in B6: The Veiled Society by David Cook (Wordiness: ** Interest: Varies, are you running B6?)
  • Strolojca and Draconius  : Extremely through descriptions of two noble houses. (Wordiness: *** Interest: **)
  • Yuri Molotov - Death Knight : A Non-player Character Death Knight and Undead Dragon and a series of adventure hooks related to him (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • The Rise of Dhrom Dhum : A goblin shaman and his plots and plans (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • The Dangers of the Dymrak Wilds : A discussion of the eastern forest the Dymrak Wilds and what hazards and treasures they contain. (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • Fort Doom : A description of the hellish fortress run by Ludwig Von Hendriks to assist those fighting against the Black Eagle Barony (or Dungeon Masters running it) (Wordiness: ** Interest: **)
  • Mirror of Eternal Night : A Megadungeon outline. Yep. (Wordiness: * Interest: ***)
  • Return to the Ice Wall : Examinging a magical terrain feature, it's history, cause, and adventure ideas. (Wordiness: ** Interest: **)
  • Guild Wars : An urban side-trek adventure in the form of a mystery. I'd say more, but don't want to give it away. Whodunit?! (Wordiness: ** Interest: *)
  • Time's Travels : a Photocomic  (Wordiness: - Interest: **)
A note on scale: zero stars is an option. So is four.

2 comments:

  1. "Do hot 6% populations of orcs turn you on?"

    Only if the orc-women have pendulous monkey boobs.

    I don't know diddly about the Known World, and I really enjoyed this first ish.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I started reading this book just yesterday.

    I have to say that I was very pleased to read the first part (the one about demographics), it impressed me a lot. In fact, it made me get my old boxed set of Karameikos and prepare a new adventure to get my players back to this land.

    I think that 6% populations of orcs really turn me on.

    ReplyDelete

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