Collecting the Voyage of the Princess Ark?


Dragon Magazine General Discussion


Does anyone remember the old Voyage of the Princess Ark series?
Over at the Mystara Message Board at WotC's forums, we have been talking about how we would love to see the series collected. I mean, the ongoing saga of the voyages of that legendary skyship was featured in Dragon for years. They were the main reason I started buying Dragon on a regular basis.

Seeing the Best of Dragon coming out soon, I was wondering if a similar collection could be made collecting only this storyline, and perhaps also the few articles of the Known World Grimoire, which in actuality was a continuation of the VotPA.

Would it be legally possible for Paizo to publish such a collection? Would anyone else be interested in seeing the return of Captain Haldemar?

Håvard


I would buy it in a heartbeat, but for now your best bet is the Dragon compliation CDs that came out a few years back. They can usually be found on eBay.

I really wish Dragon would consider using fiction as a medium for its game articles again. The old Ecologies, the Princess Arc saga, those were just great. So inspiring and not dry at all.


Yamo wrote:
I would buy it in a heartbeat, but for now your best bet is the Dragon compliation CDs that came out a few years back. They can usually be found on eBay.

Glad to see I'm not the only one! :)

Actually I already own the CD compilation, but I would love to see a collection of just the VotPA aswell. Especially if it was published as a hard copy, but even just as a pdf I would probably buy it.

And if I could get new illustrations and maps in the quality that paizo makes them these days along with it, that would be just awesome!

Would there be any legal/copyrights issues with making such a collection? Since the entire series was written by a single author (Bruce Heard), that would make it easier, would it not?


I would also buy it instantly if it was ever released! I grew up as a fantasy gamer with the old red, blue, light blue, black and gold boxed sets and soon thereafter began reading dragon magazines. The Voyage of the Princess Ark are IMO some of the best articles ever produced in that magazine!!

;-) Jesper, Denmark

Lantern Lodge

huummm..let's see...YES! i would certanly buy anything official related to Mystara!

:)


Nazgul wrote:


huummm..let's see...YES! i would certanly buy anything official related to Mystara!

:)

Cool :D

Since this is mainly a piece of fiction, and such a classic, I think it should have appeal also beyond the traditional Mystara fan-base.

As a follow-up question: What would people like to see included in such a collection if it was ever released?
a) Just the story
b) description of countries
c) 3e stats for characters, races etc featured in the book
d) maps
e) new artwork
f) anything else? Please specify
g) all of the above

Oh, yeah and I'd also love to hear from anyone at Paizo about this...

Håvard


Just created an account solely to register my opinion in this thread:

I'd definitely buy this, as long as it had all the original material, including maps, country descriptions and original stats. (Relegate the OD&D stuff to an appendix if you want, that's fine, but my main reason for wanting it is to get the stuff they didn't reprint in Champions of Mystara.) If it doesn't include the whole original, well, I've already got a half-assed version, I don't really need another.

3rd Ed conversions would be really cool to have as well - just because I demand the complete original doesn't mean I object to getting more stuff! In fact, if I had the option of a cheaper version with just the originals and a more expensive version with both, I'd probably pay the extra.

Lantern Lodge

Havard:

g) for me!!!

PS. Is my impression or does my ogre seems to be looking suspiciouly to your book carrying mouse??

heheheh :)

Dark Archive Contributor

JoeNotCharles wrote:
(Relegate the OD&D stuff to an appendix if you want, that's fine, but my main reason for wanting it is to get the stuff they didn't reprint in Champions of Mystara.) If it doesn't include the whole original, well, I've already got a half-assed version, I don't really need another.

So, having never actually compared the two (because I left my CoM in its original shrinkwrap), how much of the "Voyage of the Princess Ark" series didn't make it into Champions of Mystara?

(Hey look, you're hearing from someone at Paizo!) ;D

Lantern Lodge

I haven't read all the articles from the Dragon magazines but i always assumed the it was all reprinted in the CoM...

???


Well, I'm not sure how much exactly was missed because I never read more than one or two of the originals. I'm under the impression that the original articles each had a chapter of the story, a small hex map, and a sidebar with creature stats, rules info, or additional background info.

Champions of Mystara reprints the narrative from issue 169 on (going by the list at http://www.mystaranet.jamm.com/vaults/html/prodlist.html#DraRef) but issues 153 to 168 are summarized in a single page. That means it's missing the initial introduction of the Hollow World and the Heldannic Knights, and some visits to places on the southern continent that were never mentioned agained.

Now, here's where it gets tricky - it doesn't include any of the maps or sidebar material, but it does have two books of material that didn't appear in the VotPA. One is a section of rules for building skyships, which includes deck plans and complete NPC writeups for the Princess Ark, and the other is an almost-as-full-as-a-Gazeteer writeup of the kingdoms of Sindh, Graakhalia, Yavdlom, and Ulimwengu. Since Sindh and Yavdlom were visited during VotPA, I assume the material from the sidebars (and definitely the maps) of those areas appears in the expanded country descriptions. Graakhalia and Ulimwengu weren't visited in the VotPA narrative, but are located just north of Sindh and Yavdlom respectively, so they might have been mentioned in the sidebars.

There are also a few miscellaneous bits that I assume were originally from the sidebars - for instance, the "new monsters" section includes the Night Dragon, Cestian Gobbler and Heldannic Knight, which I assume came from the sidebars for the early issues whose stories weren't even reprinted. And there's quite a bit of detail on the Princess Ark, which might have taken up a lot of the original article space or might be new for the box set. So I don't know if most of the sidebars eventually made it in, but scattered throughout the book, or if it was just a couple of things. (That's one reason I want to get all the original info - so I can compare for myself!)

As for maps, the maps of Yavdlom and Sindh also include a bit of surrounding area, so I'd guess that the maps from issues 168 (Sindh/Jaibul) through 173 (Hule) made it in, but definitely none of the earlier ones on the southern continent, or the later ones of the Savage Coast. Of course, the Savage Coast areas were covered in the Red Steel sets too, so there are maps of them available whether or not they're the same maps. But stuff like Cestia, as far as I can tell has never been covered since the original articles.


Since I'm the one who suggested this thread on the WotC Mystara forum, I guess I'll chime in :-P

Håvard wrote:


As a follow-up question: What would people like to see included in such a collection if it was ever released?
a) Just the story

Nah, leave in the Classic D&D game stats. In other words, reprint the articles "as is", simply reformatting them for presentation.

Håvard wrote:


b) description of countries

Yes, definitely!

Håvard wrote:
c) 3e stats for characters, races etc featured in the book

No thanks! If 3e/3.5e/4e stats in sidebars were required to make such a compilation happen, I guess I'd grin and bear it, but if the articles were completely rewritten to cater to D20, I'd pass on the product without even a curious browsing of it at the bookstore.

Håvard wrote:
d) maps

Yes, but only if they are done in the classic Mystara hex style. Updating them to the pretty but useless in actual game play 3e style maps would make them unattractive to me. I'd pass on the product and stick with printing out what I need from the Dragon Archive.

Håvard wrote:
e) new artwork

Again, sure, if the classic style is preserved. Get Elmore or Easley or someone else from the era and I'd be all over it. Use one of the new breed and lace the articles with depictions of emaciated elves, improbable weapons and the inevitable "3e spikey crap" style armors and I'd again pass on the product without further investigation.

Håvard wrote:
f) anything else?

Yeah, add in the Known World Grimoire article series and make it a genuine old school Known World sourcebook.


Champions of Mystara takes about half of the original articles and condenses them into a one or two page summary.

A true completist Known World fan needs the articles, even if he has CoM.


"No thanks! If 3e/3.5e/4e stats in sidebars were required to make such a compilation happen, I guess I'd grin and bear it, but if the articles were completely rewritten to cater to D20, I'd pass on the product without even a curious browsing of it at the bookstore."

Exactly. When you're reprinting classic material, it's absolutely vital that you respect its original form. You don't go back and "update" or "convert" Shakespear by adding in "Yo, dawg!" and such. You end up with something grotesque that's a complete betrayal of the original work.

Besides, you have to think who the audience is for reprints of classic material. That is, people who've already read it in the past and don't want it messed with.

"Again, sure, if the classic style is preserved. Get Elmore or Easley or someone else from the era and I'd be all over it."

I love the original artwork from those articles. Dykstra, was it? The same guy who illustrated the best version of D&D ever, the Rules Cyclopedia. Good stuff.


Yamo wrote:
Exactly. When you're reprinting classic material, it's absolutely vital that you respect its original form. You don't go back and "update" or "convert" Shakespear by adding in "Yo, dawg!" and such. You end up with something grotesque that's a complete betrayal of the original work.

I doubt publishing OE stats is something WotC would allow. If 3E stats is what it takes to get this thing published, then I have no problems with it. Also, that will allow paizo to attract markets including both Old-timers and new fans. A small sacrifice in order to see this thing come true IMO.

Quote:
I love the original artwork from those articles. Dykstra, was it? The same guy who illustrated the best version of D&D ever, the Rules Cyclopedia. Good stuff.

As much as I would love to see Elmore or Easley do the art, I doubt that is going to happen. Dykstra was not the one behind the original VotPA art. I dont mind Dykstra's work in the RC, but compared to the Elmore/Easley work that filled the previous rules sets (Menzter edition), I found it a bit disappointing. The orginal VotPA art was nice though. I belive it was by the same guy who did the artwork for the Hollow World setting.

Personally I would love to see color art in the style Dragon uses these days. Preserving the classical flavor and staying away from the archetypicial 3E art style can be done by those artists. Much of Dragon's current art does not fall into that category IMO.

For me it is much more important to see Mystara stuff back in print than to demand that it should be made exactly the same way as it was in the 80s. It is a compromise perhaps, but one I'd easily make when the alternative is not seeing any Mystara stuff at all.

Håvard


Håvard wrote:

I doubt publishing OE stats is something WotC would allow.

Why not? It's a reprint. They allow the ESD's, don't they?

If it's a sticking point, I already suggested relegating them to an appendix. Maybe even a free web download if WotC doesn't want them in the main book for some reason?

Håvard wrote:


For me it is much more important to see Mystara stuff back in print than to demand that it should be made exactly the same way as it was in the 80s. It is a compromise perhaps, but one I'd easily make when the alternative is not seeing any Mystara stuff at all.

Much more important to me to be able to get the substance of the stuff I missed last time around than a nebulous goal of seeing "Mystara" back in print. I always regretted not reading the VotPA when I was a kid (but then, I had no money, so I really couldn't) so I just want a convenient way to get them now.


JoeNotCharles wrote:


Much more important to me to be able to get the substance of the stuff I missed last time around than a nebulous goal of seeing "Mystara" back in print. I always regretted not reading the VotPA when I was a kid (but then, I had no money, so I really couldn't) so I just want a convenient way to get them now.

While I wouldn't mind seeing just a reprint of the old stuff or an ESD, I think a VotPA collection could be a chance to see some new stuff as well. Im not talking about a relaunch of Mystara (although you are correct about me wanting that too!) ;) ,but just seeing the entrire story collected beefed up with new (preferably color) illustrations, and perhaps a new map or two would really contribute to my campaign.

I know most old schoolers prefer the hex-type maps, but I would be just as happy to see something like the Giant FR map; probably the nicest-looking map in gaming history.

Håvard


JoeNotCharles wrote:
Well, I'm not sure how much exactly was missed because I never read more than one or two of the originals.

I just got a copy of the Dragon Anthology CD off Ebay (and it cost me way more than I can afford right now, but I had to have it...) so I can do a full comparison when I get a chance, if anybody wants.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I applaud the enthusiasm of this thread, but I feel a reality check is in order.

If the Shackled City and Dragon Compendium hardcovers are a success (as we expect them to be), it is not outside the realm of possibility that we might work with Wizards to provide more hardcovers featuring classic material culled from the pages of the magazine.

The Voyage of the Princess Ark does indeed make an intriguing possibility, and will definitely be investigated if and when that time comes.

But there is simply no chance that the book would feature any rules system other than the current version of D&D, which is to say 3.5.

Printing an RPG hardcover is not an enterprise to be entered into lightly. Margins are razor thin and the market is absolutely tiny.

Best case scenario, I'd predict that a compiled Princess Ark hardcover would sell about 10,000 copies. That number would drop to fewer than 5,000 if the book were not in color, and would drop to at least half that if it did not feature fully integrated support for 3.5 DMs.

I reserve the right to revise that estimate up our down, perhaps drastically, once I see what kind of a splash the already announced hardcovers make.

Make no mistake. The long-time fans of Mystara who would view this book as a sort of rebirth of their beloved campaign setting would be in the vast minority of the total number of people who would buy this book.

It does not make business sense to cater to the specific needs of this constituancy, especially insofar as marginalizing the current rules for a set more than a decade out of print.

My impression was that the Princess Ark articles were a lot of fun. I love the format, and wish I could swipe it wholesale for the magazine today. I still might. I likewise have a soft spot in my heart for Mystara (or, if you prefer, the "Known World"), so please don't take my statements as a condemnation of the column or the setting, both of which I greatly respect.

If you want the original articles exactly as they originally appeared, I strongly suggest tracking down a copy of the Dragon CD-ROM.

There is no way, I repeat, no way to do a straight reprint in OD&D with the original art and make a dime on the book. It would surely result in a huge loss, though it would make a small number of fans very, very happy to be sure.

To make something like this profitable, which is to say to make it happen at all, you'd need to bring _a lot_ of new people to the table.

That means Mystara fans, of course, but it also means people who have never heard of Mystara, or people who have never heard of the Princess Ark, but who think that the setting sounds like a neat idea.

And you're only going to get them if the book uses the latest version of the game, because they're not going to go back to an out of print rules system for just one book, no matter how cool it might be.

--Erik Mona
Editor-in-Chief
Dragon & Dungeon

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I should point out that a simple PDF collection of all the articles, completely unchanged, is actually quite likely. The above post reflects only my feelings on an actual Princess Ark book.

--Erik Mona
Editor-in-Chief
Dragon & Dungeon


Thanks for commenting on this Erik!

Although I love making speculations like this, I was hoping that someone from paizo would give us a "reality check" like you just did.

I am not surprised by your thoughts on what such a product would be like, though I am pleasantly surprised by your positive attitude towards this idea. I was half expecting it to be shot down right away.

Although, being a Mystara fanatic I have my own agenda with this proposal, I actually believe that a VotPA collection (book) like you describe it could be something that would be interesting to both Mystara-fans and others.

I like the idea of color art! I love the art that currently fills your magazines (Dragon & Dungeon), and seeing the VotPA adventures reimagined through new high quality illustrations would be excellent. Although the old artwork was pretty good, it is the story that I am most interested in, and new illustrations would certainly spice things up.

I'm mostly using 3E these days, so 3E conversions of all the various creatures and races the Princess Ark encountered would be awesome!

Any chance of getting Bruce to write a foreword?

I really hope this is going to happen!

Håvard


Erik Mona wrote:

I should point out that a simple PDF collection of all the articles, completely unchanged, is actually quite likely. The above post reflects only my feelings on an actual Princess Ark book.

That's excellent - I'd actually prefer PDF in this case, since my shelf space is at a premium and most of my BD&D material is PDF's already anyway.


JoeNotCharles wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:

I should point out that a simple PDF collection of all the articles, completely unchanged, is actually quite likely. The above post reflects only my feelings on an actual Princess Ark book.

That's excellent - I'd actually prefer PDF in this case, since my shelf space is at a premium and most of my BD&D material is PDF's already anyway.

DEFINITELY add me to the list for an ESD of all the articles, completely unchanged. I've tried a few times to bid for a copy of the Dragon CD archive, but can't justify paying £40 plus just to get the Princess Ark material.


Erik Mona wrote:
But there is simply no chance that the book would feature any rules system other than the current version of D&D, which is to say 3.5.

For my part, that means there is a 100% chance that I would never, ever buy the book.

Even if the original articles were compiled, unaltered into a .pdf, I would probably not buy them. I already have the Dragon Archive. I would be getting nothing I don't already have. However, for those who missed the Dragon Archive the first time around, this would be a great opportunity to get some great Classic D&D gaming material that is simply not easily available otherwise.

CT


I would camp out at Game-a-lot like a rabid Star Wars geek for the chance to buy any 3.5 Mystara product you guys even consider producing. Especially if it had a non-hex-based map. :)

Liberty's Edge

I do have the Dragon CD archive.

I like buying Paizo products, and I have a soft spot for Mystara.

I'd buy this book if it were updated to the current rules. I would not buy it in 2nd edition format. I have quite a bit of experience updating material from 2nd to 3rd, and I don't think it is usually worth doing for my own personal use.

If it includes the 3.5 stats, I'd almost certainly buy it (90% liklihood based on final cost).

Liberty's Edge

I grew up with the Known World and the VotPA articles in Dragon. If a 3.5 updated collection was published, I would buy it. Considering I already have the Dragon CDs (and some of the original issues), and have fully embraced 3.5, a simple reprint would be worthless to me.

For those interested, there is a petition on the WotC message boards to bring back Mystara 3.5-ified: http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=619039


Azzy wrote:
I grew up with the Known World and the VotPA articles in Dragon. If a 3.5 updated collection was published, I would buy it. Considering I already have the Dragon CDs (and some of the original issues), and have fully embraced 3.5, a simple reprint would be worthless to me.

A good way to please both camps is too keep it relatively rules light. I would love to see a compiled VotPA which should include the new VotPA article from Dragon #344. (I'm still waiting for that one).

For most conversions, sticking to the SRD would be a good idea, and then including new rules for the Lupins (already converted in Dragon), Rakasta and some of the other races as well as stats for the Sky Ship, preferably post and pre Skywyrm enchantment. New spells, monsters and equipment would be welcome too. And ofcourse, new maps! Maps of the Known World, a poster-sized planetary map of Mystara (reprinted inside the book with the VotPA journey indicated), and detailed maps of the Savage Coast and other areas visited by the ship.

What I would _not_ like to see is having the whole thing integrated into Greyhawk like what they did with the Isle of Dread. That would be too painful. :(

A reprinted ESD, I would probably buy too, even though I already own the Dragon Archive. It was surprisingly tricky to compile it on my own. Still, the hard-cover variant suggested above would be much better :)

Håvard


Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
I would camp out at Game-a-lot like a rabid Star Wars geek for the chance to buy any 3.5 Mystara product you guys even consider producing.

I could not say that more precise!!!

And to say that, too, I would prefer 3.5 data.

Peter


I would love to see a hardback collection, and I would definitely buy it regardless. And that's saying something since I would have to pay a premium price to buy it here in Japan. (^^);

It only makes sense at this point to release it with revised 3rd edition updated rules. Moreover, with the new Princess Ark episode in Dragon 344, there has never been a better time to do such a project.

But what I would like to see even more would be the return of the Princess Ark as a regular feature in Dragon magazine. It has always been highly respected, and provided some of the best reading for years. The style is very flexible, allowing the introduction of new rules as well as new cultures each episode.

Of course, these days Bruce Heard is no longer working in the gaming industry, so he would probably be too busy to take on such a responsibility again. Another idea would be to release the original articles along with the new episode 36, plus a number of extra bonus episodes, which Bruce might be able to be persuaded to write.

In any case, I am really looking forward to receiving my copy of Dragon 344.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

The Voyage of the Princess Ark was one of the best things to be printed in Dragon ever, IMHO. I would love to see it returning. I own the original Dragons and the Box. The Box was a disappointment in some regards, as I expected a reprint of all parts. The additional material was interesting enough to make it worth buying, though.

A .pdf of the old articles would not have much appeal to me, as I´ve got them all already. The diaries of the Princess Ark will probably play a part in our current Norwold campaign (using AD&D2) as well, as my DM photocopied the whole series as a handout, and the Heldannic Knights were at least planned as major villains.

I think the base idea of combining narrative text with crunch over a long series was the most appealing feature of the Voyage. I´d love to see something like this returning to dragon. At present, I buy Dragon more or less out of tradition and for pieces like Core Beliefs and Demonomicon. I don´t care for more PrC, Feats etc. The Core Beliefs and the Demonomicon are series, but each piece stands alone. The continuing narrative of the Voyage has even more charm to me.

Stefan


A bit late to the party, but I just wanted to chime in with a hale and hearty "YES!!" for Paizo considering a VotPA (and KWG) hard cover compilation updated with colour illustrations and 3e5 Stats.

So here's to hoping the Shackled City and Dragon Compendium books did as well, or better, than they were hoping so that we actually have some ground to stand on! ;-)

Jenni


Matrissa the Enchantress wrote:

A bit late to the party, but I just wanted to chime in with a hale and hearty "YES!!" for Paizo considering a VotPA (and KWG) hard cover compilation updated with colour illustrations and 3e5 Stats.

So here's to hoping the Shackled City and Dragon Compendium books did as well, or better, than they were hoping so that we actually have some ground to stand on! ;-)

Does anyone know how well these books did? I'm sure hoping there will be more products like this, especially ofcourse a VotPA collection, preferably just like Jenni describes it.

I asked Bruce Heard about his feelings on this some time ago, and IRC he said he would welcome such a product and would consider contributing to it if he was asked to.

Håvard

Contributor

I coulda sworn that when I was TSR webmaster, the VotPA articles were some of the classic articles we were putting on the website for free.

I have no idea where those articles are now that Paizo is a separate company and the WotC website has shifted most of its closed-worlds content to fan websites, but I remember reading through scans of those articles for typos and such.


seankreynolds wrote:

I coulda sworn that when I was TSR webmaster, the VotPA articles were some of the classic articles we were putting on the website for free.

I have no idea where those articles are now that Paizo is a separate company and the WotC website has shifted most of its closed-worlds content to fan websites, but I remember reading through scans of those articles for typos and such.

Some Classic D&D/Mystara articles from Dragon were put out for free and can be accessed from here:

http://pandius.com/dragon.html (Scroll down till you see links)

They are not Voyage of the Princess Ark episodes as such, but perhaps they are the ones you are thinking of?

By the way, I'd like to thank you for putting out the Mystara and Savage Coast material that you did for free back then, still available at:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/downloads

It was a really generous present to the fans from TSR, and much appreciated! :)

Håvard


Anything new on this?

If a hardcover is something that wont happen for years, an unedited pdf collection of the existing issues (as Erik considered) would be nice to have as we wait :)

Håvard


As Havard said, any new news on a possible PDF collection of the original articles?

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