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The third in the gazetteer series see here for more on the series as a whole , Glantri is essentially the Western European analogue within the Mystara setting. The Principalities of Glantri conceals that beneath details of magic and the melting-pot background of nation. It is a country of immigrants, powerful noble families here having united under the banner of magical superiority. Only those possessing sorcerous skills have rank or power here. Each family borrows from a particular culture German, Spanish, Italian, Scottish, etc but that always felt like a surface trapping when I read the book.
As a whole, Glantri feels most like France, with the different provinces sharing a common heritage, but with distinct expressions of identity and a strong independent streak. In rereading I spotted more of the literal borrowings, but they still work. For all that it riffs on those European stereotypes, GAZ3: The Principalities of Glantri manages to elevate those ideas and do something new with them. The Principalities of Glantri remains my favorite of the gazetteers, with Karameikos coming in a close second.
GAZ2: The Emirates of Ylaruam compressed a large number of cultural groups, essentially a sub-continent, into one country and focused on ideas and themes.
GAZ3: The Principalities of Glantri again takes a large and diverse cast of cultures and brings them together, but with a tight focus on noble family. Beyond that, Glantri organizes itself very differently from the previous two volumes. Larger than the last two, 96 pages instead of 64, it presents a structure for a specific campaign. Glantri presents the tools for a DM to run a full party of mages from apprenticeship through adult adventuring life.
That campaign has the characters uncovering the secret behind the power and powers of Glantri itself, the Radiance.
Despite its difference, this approach still fits with the rest of the line. His name appears on most of the significant Mystara products in one way or another. I dislike that later product intensely, in great part because I like the material here so much. Instead of adding to it, that knocks down and ravages it in the name of change. Besides the change in length, Glantri only has a couple of other minor changes to the physical design of the series.
The main saddle-stapled booklet comes with a folio cover as usual. Instead of the tri-fold of the first two, this cover is a bi-fold. It would be a few more years before we saw epic mage locations like those of Ars Magica , Harry Potter and Redhurst , so that can be excused. The enclosed poster-sized map is the first in the series printed on front and back.
One side shows the hex-grid map of the Principalities, plus three inset map locations that are OK, but not great. However the reverse side offers a really awesome map of the City of Glantri- wonderfully laid out with canal waterways. Three inset images present details of the harbor and special buildings. This is one of my favorite city maps.
It is interesting and useful- I can imagine running a chase using it. The booklet sticks to the same three columns with tiny text of the previous two volumes. This book, more than the previous two, relies on narration and stories. We get tales from newcomers and foreigners, as well as testimonials from important NPCs. Just about every major section has some kind of game fiction dialogue. These are very targeted, with the narrator describing a particular event, person or institution.
It sets the tone of the material and offers some insights on presenting the ideas to the players. But the actual execution of that material, as I mentioned above, is in the form of first and third person narratives. The stories say as much about the narrators as they do about the topics. The author also sets up the gazetteer explicitly as a campaign from the outset, discussing how the pieces presented fit into that.
I can attest to that, having adapted the ideas across years of my house campaign and across several different systems. DMs should be aware of a couple of important structural restrictions right off the bat.
Dwarves are welcomed in Glantri, but mostly because of their desirability for magical experimentation i. Second, and perhaps more importantly, clerics of any kind are illegal within the lands. The DM will have to do some serious filling in of details of normal life, since the focus stays on the elite of the country. Different family lines govern each Principality, each with a distinct origin and cultural background.
While they share a common adherence to the magocracy, they are of course at each others throats. That makes Glantri an interesting and highly political setting. Most of the material presented in the first third of the book focuses on setting up those different families and their personalities for the players. They came to this world from that one. CAS remains my favorite old-school fantasy author, and it is interesting to see how his weird fantasy ideas translate into a game more heavily influenced by the likes of Vance, Tokien and Howard.
House of Igorov aka Gorevitch-Woszlany: "Expansionist chaotic vampires"- another family with necromancy in its blood. As you can imagine, they come off as very Transylvanian. House of Linden aka Vlaardoen: "Vengeful Followers of the Fame"- a family descended people originally from another world, their fellow refugees went on to found one of the two great empires in Mystara, Alphatia. They seem to be borrowing from the Dutch, but those connections are pretty light.
House of Ritterbeg aka Von Drachenfels: "Warmongering Military Technocrats"- The military backbone of the nation, and one borrowing heavily from Prussian and German cultures. They have the most tolerance for clerics. However they have a more classic Renaissance Italian feel to them- which differs slightly from how the Empire ends up portrayed in the later boxed set Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia.
So you can see Glantri bursts with ideas and plots. Several excellent sections break down those families, provide insight on their relations and describe the major NPCs of each. That material bleeds over into the other major power-players in the lands- guilds, brotherhoods and secret societies.
While the various provinces have their own towns, villages, and castles, Glantri city is the hub. Most campaigns will begin there, and it alone could offer the background to many sessions worth of gaming. This chapter breaks down the city by neighborhoods, provides a calendar of festivities, and outlines the laws, atmosphere and daily life of the city.
All of it is great and useful information, well-presented. It offers some mechanics and details tuition costs, some feat-like bonuses which can be picked up, and graduation tests but it seems a little bit of a missed opportunity. That may be in hindsight, given other more famous magic schools which popped up. Still the ideas given are excellent and fun. The last third of the booklet offers substantial DM tools and mechanics. First, it provides a toolbox for creating new spells and magic items.
Such things cost gold to create- representing resources invested in the project. Next, the book explains the secret of the Radiance, magical energy present in Glantri and tied to the Immortal Rad.
This section provides some ideas on how the players might learn these secrets, harness spells from the Radiance and even change the course of history. Beyond that, the section offers new seven secret crafts with new spells : alchemy, dragon magic, elements, illusions, necromancy, runes, and witchcraft.
These offer some great ideas for a GM wanting to expand high-level magic in their campaign. Finally, the booklet finishes with a list of adventure seeds, broken down by level. Many of these are linked- given the GM the skeleton of a long-term campaign in this region.
That economy is admirable- a booklet which offers in 96 pages what many books would have needed twice that to do the same thing. There are a few goofy things- like the Scottish Liches and the Apocalypse Now references in the adventure section. But it offers a wealth of ideas, cultures and peoples.
Even the bad guys here have to function in cooperation with the other families, making it both more real and more interesting than the Red Wizards of Thay ever were to me. My players know those family names and can remember the distinctive traits of many of those lines.
I count that as the mark of great source material- when it creates fun and memorable moments at the table.
The Principalities of Glantri
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GAZ3 - The Principalities Of Glantri
The third in the gazetteer series see here for more on the series as a whole , Glantri is essentially the Western European analogue within the Mystara setting. The Principalities of Glantri conceals that beneath details of magic and the melting-pot background of nation. It is a country of immigrants, powerful noble families here having united under the banner of magical superiority. Only those possessing sorcerous skills have rank or power here. Each family borrows from a particular culture German, Spanish, Italian, Scottish, etc but that always felt like a surface trapping when I read the book. As a whole, Glantri feels most like France, with the different provinces sharing a common heritage, but with distinct expressions of identity and a strong independent streak. In rereading I spotted more of the literal borrowings, but they still work.
GAZ3 THE PRINCIPALITIES OF GLANTRI PDF
Dilkree To ask other readers questions about The Principalities of Glantriplease sign up. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. There are some weird or silly parts that deal with the history of Mystara and you pribcipalities probably aware of them and, like me, choose to ignore them. An overview of the Gazetteer series and details on these two supplements. One person found this helpful. Showing of 3 reviews.