Advanced Search

GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (Basic)
Full‑size Preview

GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (Basic)

Multiple File Formats

This is the first in a series - a completely new concept in gaming aids for the Dungeons & Dragons game system. Within these covers is a complete historical, economical, geographical, and sociological overview of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Entries on (and maps of) the major cities and towns, as well as biographical entries on the important figures in the Duchy, will aid the DM in preparing his own adventures as well as enrich the playing of published adventures.

In addition, there is a full-size, four-color map showing not only Karameikos itself, but also the capital city of Specularum, the city of Kelvin, and the town of Threshold. This map will be full compatible with those to follow in the series, so the DMs and players can put them side by side for comparison and/or play.

Beginning with the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, this series provides a rich tapestry of background material for player and DM alike, sure to benefit the gamer immeasurably.

Product History

GAZ1: "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" (1987), by Aaron Allston, is the first book in the "GAZ" series of Gazetteers for the Known World. It was published in April 1987.

Introducing the "GAZ" series. Bruce Heard became the developer of the Known World setting by chance. At the time, TSR's Design staff was still writing most of the AD&D products, but that wasn't the case for Basic D&D — possibly because no one wanted to be associated with a product that had strong ties to Frank Mentzer, who had (alongside Gary Gygax) left TSR for New Infinities Productions.

Basic D&D products were instead being produced by freelancers. Meanwhile, Bruce Heard was the Acquisition Coordinator, in charge of freelancers — which de facto made him the guy running the Known World. Because no one else was interested in Basic D&D — or in the Known World — Heard could do pretty much whatever he wanted, which let him create one of the most innovative module series to date for TSR.

The "GAZ" series were different because the modules weren't adventures; instead each one detailed a specific geographic locale — which was largely unheard of at TSR, though there were a few geographic-based precedents, most notably the World of Greyhawk supplements (1980, 1984) and Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1985).

Heard was interested in producing these geographic books for the Known World for two reasons. First, because he didn't like generic adventures, instead preferring them to have specific locales and the potential to impact a larger campaign world. Second, because details were constantly accruing in the Known World adventures — particularly in the "X" Expert series, which was focused on wilderness, and so had to detail wide geographic locales out of pure necessity. Without any sort of written guide, these details could be troublesome. The "GAZ" adventures thus gave Heard the ability to ground the Basic D&D adventures and simultaneously to provide adventure writers with that background.

In designing "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos", Allston and Heard created a basic format for what the "GAZ" books should contain. The 64-page books includes player's background, history, politics, society, and economy, as well as a look at the land's geography. A section on "communities" allowed Allston to detail some specific locales within Karameikos.

Heard was also able to design the graphical look of the "GAZ" books — which stands out in advance of what TSR was producing at the time. The book is printed two color (black & blue), which was something that TSR didn't generally do until the release of second edition AD&D (1989). The use of a single image as the background of the pages (an icon for Karameikos) was also quite unusual for 1987. Finally, the colored hex-map in "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" is also notable; it would be the basis of the "TM" Trail Map series (1989-1990) in just a few years.

Expanding Basic D&D. "Karameikos" was innovative in many ways. Besides being the first of a new sort of geographical supplement, it also expanded the Basic D&D rules by introducing a "General Skills" system. The idea was in the air at TSR, as similar "non-weapon proficiencies" were introduced in Oriental Adventures (1985). However, Basic D&D would ultimately make more extensive use of its own skills, as it expanded and developed them throughout the late '80s in its Gazetteers.

Expanding the Known World. Heard chose Karameikos for the first "GAZ" book because it was the best detailed area of the Known World, dating back to the introduction of it (and the Known World!) in the D&D Expert Set (1981). "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" also makes extensive use of B10: "Night’s Dark Terror" (1986), a wilderness adventure set in the area. It draws further details from B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984), which detailed the capital city of Specularum, and X10: "Red Arrow, Black Shield" (1985), which generally described the nations of this part of the Known World.

With that said, there is (of course) lots of new information on Karameikos in this supplement. It also does a soft reboot of the Known World as it had been presented from 1981-1986, primarily by Zeb Cook. In those earlier books, up to and including "Night's Dark Terror", Karameikos was a real wilderness — filled largely with monsters, not people. "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" changes that by increasing populations tenfold: for example, Specularam goes from a city of 5,000 people to 50,000. This more populated environment would be the basis of the Known World as it developed into Mystara through the "GAZ" series.

Future History. Allston reimagined the setting, with the timeline advanced 17 years, in Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventures (1994) — an AD&D 2e supplement.

About the Creators. Allston was an experienced freelancer who had already written the well-receivedl N4: "Treasure Hunt" (1986) for TSR. "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" was his second Known Worlds book of the year, following X12: "Skarda's Mirror" (1987). He would become increasingly involved in the setting as time went on.

Bruce Heard continued to shepherd the Known World throughout the '80s and '90s. He's best-known for writing "The Voyage of the Princess Ark" for Dragon (1990-1992, 2006).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (15)
Discussions (47)
Customer avatar
Paul H October 07, 2020 3:02 pm UTC
If you print them, we will come.
Customer avatar
William M September 23, 2020 3:26 pm UTC
I hope this is merely a temporary take down of the POD option. I have been quietly planning a little Christmas season splurge for myself on several of the titles of this era!
Customer avatar
Benjamin B September 11, 2020 2:29 am UTC
Where did the POD go?! I hope they are improving the scan/print. I was just about to buy the POD! Sheesh.
Customer avatar
Joe C August 09, 2020 1:51 pm UTC
Print On Demand was available wasn't it?
Or was it all a dream.
Hope the Gazz's will all be available one day.
Be great to have a full collection.
Customer avatar
MARTINO C September 17, 2020 9:38 am UTC
It was, it was.
Customer avatar
Tarik Z August 01, 2020 8:08 am UTC
Hi, why this was on POD a couple of months ago and now is gone?
Customer avatar
Ilias L July 14, 2020 9:46 pm UTC
Customer avatar
George F August 04, 2020 8:59 pm UTC
Print on Demand.
Customer avatar
Ilias L August 05, 2020 4:14 pm UTC
No, I meant "where did pod go?"
Customer avatar
John L July 12, 2020 1:41 pm UTC
When will this become available as POD again?
Customer avatar
Pedro Pablo M July 11, 2020 7:23 pm UTC
Please POD!!
Customer avatar
David A July 09, 2020 3:17 am UTC
I just go the PDF. The scan is rather blurry and hard to read.
Customer avatar
MARTINO C July 07, 2020 5:40 pm UTC
I was waiting to buy the first five in Printed version, why is this one is no longer available in physical format?
Customer avatar
Peter S June 28, 2020 4:17 am UTC
Why was this product removed for purchase?
Customer avatar
Miguel L July 06, 2020 8:39 pm UTC
Very strange indeed. And the worst part is that I was planning to buy the POD version in a couple of months :(
Customer avatar
George F May 13, 2020 4:32 pm UTC
I received my PoD yesterday. The quality is fantastic. I'll be getting more of the Gazetteer series and hope all have PoD options at some point.
Customer avatar
kristiaan L April 16, 2020 7:53 pm UTC
I finally contacted DTRPG to tell them i still had not received the pod after 5 weeks of it supposedly being shipped. They offered to send out another one but man, i dont want to wait another month and half for it. Too bad, i really was looking forward to this book.
Customer avatar
kristiaan L May 10, 2020 4:56 am UTC
Should have updated this earlier. The amazing customer service people refunded me and then a couple days later, the book showed up. This book is awesome. Well put together and the scans are nice and clean. Very glad to have this iconic D&D book in my collection! I want to make sure they get back the money they refunded me. Thanks for the always great service DTRPG.
Customer avatar
kristiaan L April 06, 2020 7:39 pm UTC
Gah! 4 weeks later,still waiting on my hard copy :(
Shipping to the far off Canada galaxy ;)
Customer avatar
Bernd V March 24, 2020 12:02 pm UTC
Brilliant PoD!
Customer avatar
Stefan B February 28, 2020 11:32 pm UTC
I ordered the PoD as soon as it became available 10 days ago. The PoD was delivered fast, and I am very satisfied with the quality. For $10, it is very much worth it IMO. Here are a few pics of it:
Customer avatar
Amanda R March 01, 2020 3:43 am UTC
You're are a gem! Order placed :)
See 16 more
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Mithral seller
Rules Edition(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9193
File Size:
41.74 MB
Scanned image
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
February 11, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on January 07, 2014.