Way back in 1981 the D&D expert set included the module X1: The Isle of Dread and it served as an example of an outdoor adventure and setting for D&D campaigns. The primary focus on the module was the isle of dread itself a prehistoric lost-world not far removed from King Kong and a host of other tales that was decidedly non-Tolkien in flavor also of interest was the continental map included which while it included the Isle of Dread it also included the remainder of The Known World. In a two page map spread and one page of notes an entire campaign world was presented to millions of D&D players. There was little elaboration on this setting beyond tidbits from modules for several years and undoubtedly many a DM developed them differently from one another. I played with one group of players that used them in a setting that moved among the group of players and was called “The Wars” , these wars took place in that groups ever changing adaptation of The Known world. In time the Kown World of the Wars morphed into an almost duplicate of the official published version of Mystara with a host of campaign related oddities that can only come from a host of PC lords ruling the countries on the map. With encroachment of officialdom The Known World as uniquely developed by those players faded, I can only wonder at home many thousands of versions of The Known World there were played all over the world.
I tended to use settings created whop-cloth by myself but at one point I myself had taken he known world and post-holocausted it up turn gin the kingdoms and territories into an odd Gamma World meets D&D setting. It was under developed with only a few pages and maybe a half dozen sessions of play but it was a good half-dozen pages in size larger than presented in the original iteration. I wonder now at all the campaign that must have flowed from that one page of notes and two page map spread that were not based on anymore canon than that.
How many Darokins have we lost. How many thousands of hours of game play took place in unique empires of Thyatis unlike any other? Imagine all the myriad variations of Karameikos that were adventured within by DM and player alike with histories different from that which followed later in official canon. Sure Karameikos had a little more detail in the expert rule book itself as an example wilderness map but not all that much just one and a half additional pages; i wonder at what detailed maps DMs crafted of their own Darokin and Atruaghin Clans using the Grand Duchy of Karameikos writeup and maps as example?
The Empire of Thyatis was an autocracy similar to the medieval Byzantine empire (which may as well have been Mars to the knowledge of the average middle school reader of said description). The Atruaghin Clans is a wilderness region of simple rustic folk descended from an ancient hero that only unites temporarily under a single elected leader if threatened by war; I must admit I was surprised when the Atruaghins turned into Native Americans in the official version. How many myriad variants of Thyatis have there been? Who were their
emperors and how did their histories vary? Has anyone ever read about
other DMs elaboration from the expert set Known World setting before we
knew it was called Mystara?