So while I've been revamping & updating some of the articles on this blog. I stumbled upon some of my notes on Stephen Bourne's N3 Destiny of Kings. This is an unusual module in any number of ways but it bares some looking into. I'm reminded of Graham Staplehurst review from White Dwarf #80 in which he called N3 Destiny of Kings; ""a well-planned adventure for a medium-sized, low-level AD&D party”. He considered the adventure particularly appropriate for an inexperienced or novice party, as very experienced players "may find it a little sparse on the intrigue and cloak-and-dagger side". Staplehurst found a few bugs in the text, although he felt the module was well introduced, with useful aids such as a glossary of names and places and a plot synopsis. He felt that the random encounters were overpowered, and noted a walled town of "ludicrous design, containing a jousting field just 130' long". He concluded the review by describing the module as, "Overall, a well-thought out adventure that shouldn't be too hard to slot into an existing campaign, and would make a very good introduction for new players."
Could N3 Destiny of Kings adventure formula & plot line be taken apart & applied to Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea?! Yes in spades, the party must find the prince of Dunador & return him to his kingdom. Along the way the characters must contend with scheming Dukes, raiders and corpses as they trace the pilgrimage the Prince took before the King's death! If Dunador was in Hyperborea then it probably going to be in near or in Vikland. The whole adventure plot of the adventurers uncovering & rectify ignoble deeds, bringing traitors to justice & saving a kingdom from disaster relates to the membrane of royals outta of the capital city of Hyperborea becoming unstable. This has echoes across the political ether of the setting. There's all kinds of unrest happening in various AS&SH adventures. Add to this the growing of the Cult of Reptile God on the Lizard Coast & it up points to the powers behind the thrones of Hyperborea becoming dangerously restless.
The whole of N3 Destiny of Kings smacks of a proto Keltic or Viking style political upheaval. Or it could be the equivalent of the start of a King Arthur style tale. The echoes of this art present within Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne stories:
- Beast of Averoigne, The (1933)
- Colossus of Ylourgne, The (1933)
- Disinterment of Venus, The (1934)
- Enchantress of Sylaire, The (1941)
- End of the Story, The (1930)
- Holiness of Azédarc, The (1933)
- Maker of Gargoyles, The (1932)
- Mandrakes, The (1933)
- Mother of Toads (1934)
- Rendezvous in Averoigne, A (1931)
- Satyr, The (1931) [Variant Conclusion to "The Satyr"]
If this is a faux Arthur style political play here then its a very dangerous move. Dunador is not tied to any one AD&D campaign world. So the kingdom of Dunador could have much more influence over the politics of the capital of Hyperborea then was at first seen. This is going to be a prime opportunity to have the PC's ingrain themselves into the upper ranks of Hyperborean social life. The PC's are going to have their hands full with the political intrigue that the module visits on them.
The fact is that this is not a run of the mill module is the very thing that is going to draw your player's in & hook them. The module makes excellent use of the political machine to draw the party into the deeper parts of N3 Destiny of Kings. I've said it before and I'll say it again, classic modules are classic for a reason. In this case its the whole package that works on many levels is not just the adventure base of N3 Destiny of Kings. I highly recommend N3 Destiny of Kings for both the experienced dungeon master & the novice players. The destiny of Dunador is now in your party's hands!