Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Lands and Environs of the D&D Wilderness

The revised D&D Expert Rulebook (1983) contained a map of The Continent from module X1 "The Isle of Dread" (1981) featuring a network of land and coastal trade routes.

"The Lands and Environs of the D&D Wilderness" as depicted in the revised version of the D&D Expert Rulebook (1983)

The updated setting was discussed in "A New Game With a Familiar Name" by Frank Mentzer in Dragon #77 (September, 1983):

I took the fantasy world from module X-1, as described by Dave Zeb Cook, shook it once or twice, and got the basis for a fantasy world for the whole D&D game system.

All the B and X modules can be located on the territory map, and future modules should all fit nicely  - a ready-made campaign. 

Frank Mentzer, Dragon #77 (September, 1983)

Mentzer describes merchant caravans of 2-100 wagons traveling between inhabited areas, in the "Towns and Cities" section of the D&D Expert Rulebook.

Module Placement:

Approximate locations for the B-series and X-series modules were indicated on the map:

Modules B1 and B2 were both situated in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, although neither were conceived with the continental setting in mind.

Module B3 was also placed in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, although was originally located northwest of the Principalities of Glantri (a better location for the revised version, as well).

Module B4 was placed in the Alasiyan Desert, as suggested in the introduction to the module.

Module X1 is indicated by an arrow to the south, across the Sea of Dread.

Module X2 was placed in the Principalities of Glantri, although should perhaps be located on the river's western tributary.

Module X3 was located in the Kingdom of Vestland, as described in the background to the module.

Modules X4 and X5 are indicated by an arrow to the northwest, although were actually set west of Akesoli.


The map symbols for "castle" and "ruins" were inadvertently switched in the legend beneath the map of Threshold on pg. 31 of the revised Expert Rulebook.

Fort Doom and Krakatos were therefore indicated as ruins, while Wereskalot and the Haunted Keep were indicated as castles, on the map of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos (pg. 32).

This point of confusion might be why Wereskalot appears as a village (similar to Threshold and "Kelvin") on the map of the Lands and Environs of the D&D Wilderness.

Unnamed Villages:

Two unnamed villages were subsequently provided with names in module X10 "Red Arrow, Black Shield" (1985):

"Kobos" in the Kingdom of Ierendi

"Stahl" in Rockhome

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