[You may want to read the previous post: The Return of the Egg – third and last part ]
The original adventure, The Temple of Elemental Evil® by Gary Gygax, a milestone for Dungeons&Dragons® was set in Greyhawk®.
The same goes for the Wizard of the Coast adventure written by Monte Cook in 2001: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil®.
In Princes of the Apocalypse®, the latest edition of the Elemental Evil, the authors opted for something completely different.
Apart for the name, this adventure has nothing in common with the two previous products and above all its setting is different: the Abeir-Toril world in the Forgotten Realms®.
The editorial choice was also to help DMs to bring this story in all the others Wizard settings, with the introduction of an appendix at the end of the huge 256 pages book-adventure-campaign.
Obviously Mystara® was not amid the considered settings and this explains the aim of the present work: closing an unforgivable gap.
As I said, the original adventure is set in the Forgotten Realms, in the Dessarin Valley, a quite populated area and a connecting route to the northern cities of the Sword Coast.
I consider the best location in Mystara to be the Esterhold Peninsula and in detail the southern coast facing the Zamara Sea.
Keep in mind that for the last twelve centuries, from the annexing to the Alphatia Empire until today, this land has seen a slow but progressive development and a demographic growth, so I do not believe that there are only the two of Port Marlin and Rock Harbor, as per Poor Wizard’s Almanac III.
I do believe that a territory so vast and rich of merchant routes, mostly for mining, should have a network of roads and more developed cities connected with routes, along the coastline and in the inner territory, to the cities of Faraway, Skyfyr, Port Marlin, and Rock Harbour with Minaea Reign and the city-states of Tresa, Markos and Thanasis.
Forgotten Realms’ city of Luskan becomes Port Marlin.
The nameless mountain chain, north of the city, nearly 500km long, faces the Esterhold Sea and becomes The Spine.
I think it is not only possible, but also very likely, the existence of a coastal city facing the Dobar Bay halfway between Port Marlin and Rock Harbor. A city with a catchy name, Eversummer, to underline a hot climate, never cold, to stand for Neverwinter in the Forgotten Realms. The presence of a big city between Port Marlin and Rock Harbor makes the construction of land routes and the rising of carriage commerce inevitable. Both coastal and inland routes grow and around one of them, connecting Eversummer to the Long Road (Rock Harbor-Anchorage way), lie the Dessarin Valley and Red Larch.
Rock Harbor takes Waterdeep place and Sinbad’s Gate perfect location is midway between the Harbor and Tresa City State, on the northern shore of Chiontar river and facing Zamara Sea. Sinbad’s Gate is really the gate between the north and the south of the Esterhold Peninsula connecting, through land routes, Port Marlin, Rock Harbor, Anchorage and Faraway to the cities of the Minaean coast and internal territory.
The inland territory, a huge and deserted land in the original map, is in reality inhabited by little human communities grown and made rich by the mining development of the area.
Red Larch, Westbridge, Triboar, Yartar, Longsaddle, Mirabar, Everlund are just little communities, few hundred souls, left behind by the first alphatian colonies passing by and by the Jennites slaves that the Alphatians used to own.
The main location for the adventure is still Dessarin Valley, north of Rock Harbor.
This way, the Dessarin Hills will find themselves in the West, the Sword Mountains in the South-West, Sumber Hills in the center, will be the heart of the adventure.
Finally, in the East, there will be Forlorn Hills near the north-south Rock Harbor- Anchorage route.
WARNING, SPOILER ALERT: the next map is GM-only, so don’t look at it if you are a player!