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Ideas for a better CM9 Legacy of Blood gameby Khuzd
In Legacy of Blood one of the PC becomes the heir of a small dominion in Darokin, called Fenhold, in the southern border of Alfheim. An evil wizard, Barzan (cousin of Bargle) is secretly creating incidents and havoc so the dominion instability causes the Darokinian government to kick off the PC. He wants the small and poor dominion because there is a secret Gate to the Plane of Water in the swamp. Everything PCs (and NPCs) do has an effect on the “Confidence Level” of the dominion, for good or worse. Players really play hard to keep a good Confidence Level if the DM tells them it is important.
I have DMed this module with some modifications. Even though is “Companion level”, I played it with 5th level characters (and a 7HD Sprite); the heir was 17th level, he was a NPC wizard (a former PC in ancient campaigns) but he was always drunken or away (he was depressed and used to teleport to a house he has in Alpha, Norwold, and get drunk in a tavern and sleep there two or three days). When needed, this wizard heir gave the PCs wands, scrolls and potions to help them. The PCs worked hard to take the depression out of the powerful heir, so he became a PC at the last session, just in time for the final battle.
1- It is best to play with Glantrian PCs, and even the heir can be a Glantrian. Also, is better if the heir is a magic-user, not a warrior. These two things (atheist Glantrians and magicians) are disliked by peasants in Fenhold, and specially by halflings. [In my campaign, the PCs decided to hide their Glantrian origins, and went to the religious service each morning in the chapel of Fenhold Manor, so the servants could say “they are very religious”...]
2- If the heir is a NPC wizard, friend of the PCs, he puts Invisible Stalkers around the Manor as guards (and replaces them every week, so they do not get angry). But servants and peasants are afraid: “since the new lord arrived, there are strange noises, and I believe there are unnatural presences... he is summoning spirits or something”.
3- A Great Beast of Chaos (a stronger version of Black Beast of Chaos which was published in Dragon Magazine #355) has arrived to the forests in the frontier between Fenhold and Alfheim. The Beast came from a Dark Magic Point. This monster is attacking peasants, hunters and elves and converting them in Beast of Chaos. The PCs note this in their first day in Fenhold: the old steward who goes to receive them in Fenhold Village is attacked and killed by one of those Beasts. This way, he becomes a beast in front of the PCs' horrified eyes. (Also, this way they can not “raise dead” the old steward... the official module says that he was too old to be raised, but I always thought it was a bad answer). So one of the goals of the PCs is to hunt down the “epidemic” of Chaos Beasts in the forests and protect farmers and halflings from it. Perhaps they can believe that the Beasts are related to Barzan or “the strange curse of this dominion” (it is not so, simply a coincidence).
4- The same night the heroes arrive, Barzan and Oleena (a Chaotic sorceress) put fire to the forest in Alfheim frontier, polymorphed as halflings (they leave halfling footprints, walk to a small stream and from there fly out invisible). Elves get angry. Many trees and animals die. A dryad and her tree die and his spirit returns as a “Deadwood Revenant”, a revenge spirit [from Dragon Magazine #357, pag.48-50]. The Deadwood Revenant spends a few days charming animals (1 bear, 3 boars, 3 wolves) and then attacks one of the halfling villages. She does not fight to the end; when seriously wounded, returns to the forest, waits, charms more animals and attacks another time. (7HD, black energy rays, fly, undead, charms humanoid and animals, speak with plants, curses, Faery Slumber...)
As a result of the fire, Elves visit Fenhold, asking for justice. They bring with them a leprechaun (or pixie, whatever) that saw the halflings (“one was black haired, and the other fair-haired”) putting fire to the forest. This incident cuts out the traditional friendship between Elves and Halflings. Also, the human farmers become more hostile to halflings: “they want more lands, so they put fire to the forest, and know the Elves hate us and they will attack us...” [My PCs were lucky to have a Belcadizan girl and a Sprite PC to help in dialogue with the angry Alfheimers].
5- Regularly, Barzan uses “Create normal monster” to fill the dominion with nasty creatures. If captured and interrogated they only answer: “the human master with a blue cloak asked us to...” They disappear when destroyed. (This can be the first clue to the PCs that there is somebody behind... but first they need to find these created monsters).
1-3 in d6: monsters simply attack cattle and crops.
4-6 in d6: monster attack people, killing few and wounding many.
They do attack at 4d6 hour (that is, from 4am to 24 pm).
Creature (1d10): 1- Giant wasps (6), 2 - normal wolves (8), 3- giant 6HD non flying beetles (3), 4- amphibian 3HD scorpions (6), 5- swamp 3HD giant slugs (6), 6- giant bats (9), 7- brown bears (2), 8- robber flies (9), 9- giant bees (36, 1/2 HD each), 10- giant rats (36).
“Where did they come from?” If they were insects and bugs, “they seemed to come from the swamp”. And attack (throw 1d8) 1-Fenhold Manor; 2-Fenhold Village; 3-Barnaby Halflings, 4- Hollydown Halflings; 5-EastRiding Humans, 6,7,8-Fenfolk humans, in the swamp.
If they were mammals, “they seemed to come from Alfheim” and attack (throw 1d6) 1-Fenhold Manor, 2-Fenhold Village, 3-Barnaby Halflings, 4- Hollydown Halflings; 5-EastRiding Humans, 6-Fenfolk, in the swamp.
There is only a new attack every two days... PCs can have the experience of being “fire-fighters“, going from one village to another, following reports of giant insects, deadwood revenants, Chaos Beasts, etc...
6- A chariot driven by a red-haired dwarf arrives to Fenhold Village square. The dwarf goes to the tavern: “I bring parts of animals to a mad wizard; I suppose he wants to join them each other and create a monster; I do not want to go to that Manor, it is disgusting; I give you 5 gp if you tell the wizard that the animals he asked for are here in the square; goodbye!” He lets the chariot in the square with a note, goes to the forests and disappears. He was Barzan in polymorph. It happens when the PCs are not at town. The chariot has a boar and a bear cut to pieces and full of blood and flies. Villagers are furious: “our wizard lord is mad and makes strange experiments”.
If PCs ask the spirit of the animals (Speak with Dead + Speak with Animals) they only know they were attacked by shining light arrows. (Barzan killed them with Magic Missile). If the PCs ask the mules [yes, with a Sprite in the game these things are usual] they were bought in Alleybrooke by a black-haired Dwarf, given to a human driver, after two days of journey, the driver went into the forest and brought the animal pieces; then a red-haired dwarf came from the forest and drove the chariot to the town. Both Dwarves were Barzan in polymorph.
7- The Festival
Some days before the festival the PCs receive a letter from “Lady Kazerin de Bergh” (see “Pride and Prejudice”), a haughty and wealthy noble lady, whose opinion is important in the Government. She is coming to the festival. His servile chaplain, reverend Higins (C3, of Asterius) arrives to Fenhold 3 days before the festival to make sure everything will be fine. She arrives with 6 NM servants and 4 F4 guards. (We had great fun with Reverend Higins, which was like the cleric of “Pride and Prejudice”... finally the Sprite cast a “curse of aphony” on him... “sorry... I can no longer sing the marvels of Lady Cazerin...”
Other people coming to the festival:
-Captain Tremont, from Fort Cruth, of the IV Legion (F9, skilled in mounting lance), with 2 F4 and 7 Darokinian pikemen.
-Mr Stone, major of Nemiston, NM, dislikes elves of Alfheim; comes with 50 people and 2 knights to play in the archery contest, Sir Roger Block (F12, D13, skilled in longbow, bastard sword and pike); and Sir Linus Elfhumbler (F10, D18, expert in Longbow).
-Mr. Trionfer, major of Alleybrooke, NM, religious politician, fond of Kagyar and friend of Dwarves; dislikes Glantrians and wizards. Comes with 3 fighters to the jousting tournament: Ánketil (F6), Browe (F7) and Sidni (F8).
-5 Dwarven merchants (D1,1,2,2,3) from Rockhome but they live in Selenica. They hate Glantrians, of course.
-3 Halfling bowmen and their 30 friends, coming from The Five Shires to the archery competition: Fredegar, Chindimur and Barrelsom. They are H3, skilled in shortbow and Dext16. The halflings also bring good smoking to sell.
- Qirondur, the Centaur. 7HD, St16.Skilled in lance. Comes from Alfheim, is an elf-friend, quite naughty, will fight in the jousting.
-Invisible faeries: 5 sidhes and 8 pixies, and a Pooka (who looks like a vulture with spectacles and funeral clothes). They only want to see the games and rob some food and perhaps play innocent tricks with silly humans.
- Harmony Sweetsounds: H2, a halfling girl, singer, from Leeha, Norwold, with his friend Glundi (H3), which plays the wheel-viola.
- Elf participants: Darfalas (E8, Chaotic, expert in longbow); Forlinel and Faifsindel (E6, experts in longbow), will shoot in the archery contest. There are also 30 elves from Alfheim. Five of them sell exotic hides (from monsters), elven leather armour, and you can ask them Alfheim traditional magic objects (pay 1/2 price in advance) at Alfheimer costs.
[There is also a Drinking Contest, with a strong Farmer, a Fens man, a Halfling, a Dwarf, an Elf, the Centaur, a Darokinian soldier... and the PCs who dare. In my game, the Klantyre PC warrior won this competition!!]
8- The Tower of Barzan
The DM can fill the area around Barzan's lair with these monsters:
In the water:
-2 water elementals (9HD each, summoned as Elementalist, do not need concentrating)
-3 patrols of 2 giant swamp eels each (6HD, in each patrol, one eel has been charmed, and the other created with Create Monster)
-1 giant leech (6HD) in each underwater door
-3 invisible stalkers (OK, in my campaign stalkers fly); summoned by Barzan
-3 groups of 12 giant bees (1/2HD each; they have 2nd vision, so they can see invisible faeries; 2 bees will go to tell Barzan that there are intruders)
-9 giant bats (3 groups of 3, they can “see” invisible characters -unless blinded with “Silence” spells-, 2 attack, 1 flies to alert Barzan)