Where do I even start with this glorious beast?

So, this is Champions of Mystara: Heroes of the Princess Ark (1993), and it is all Bruce Heard’s fault. Heard basically developed the Known World for a decade, guiding the creation of the beloved Gazetteer series and penning a 35-part serial storyline in Dragon Magazine about the adventures of the crew of a flying airship traveling to all corners of Mystara. This box set is essentially the culmination (and end) of the Known World that Heard shepherded and it marked the end of the Challenger line (with the exception of the second Poor Wizard’s Almanac).
Which is a bummer, because this box was intended to be a relaunch of a sort. It reprints all the previous Princess Ark stories, but lays the ground work for a new series of explorations of the Known World, by air ship! Sort of a Spelljammer-lite. I love it dearly, but it doesn’t really surprise me that it was a kind of death knell — TSR habitually killed the stuff I loved.

I have always been puzzled by the popularity of the Gazetteers and the Princess Ark articles. People really LOVE this world and Heard’s work on it. So do I! But there is something about it that always felt like a well kept secret. Surely no one else loved this thing I love! And much as I enjoy the 2E Mystara, a series of new, airship-centric gazetteers feels like a massive missed opportunity. God, a flying Viking longship pulled by white dragons? COME ON, TSR! You’re gonna cancel that world?

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