Friday, September 13, 2019

Commentary On N3 Destiny of Kings By Stephen Bourne For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition

"The kingdom of Dunador is in trouble. Since the king, Halfred of Dunthrane, was killed in a hunting accident, the land has hovered on the brink of civil war. Crown Prince Edmund, at 18 only half-trained and quite unprepared to assume the throne, has yet to be crowned. Currently he is on a pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Nevron in the province of Andevar. While the uncrowned king is far from home, anarchy reigns in Dunador."

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:

There maybe far more going on here then the PC's realize. The powers at play maybe doing far more then the party realizes as the Druid councils & cabals get in on the act of king making. The royal houses might just see the opportunity to go to war over the fact that the prince is missing. 

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 KingsI'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! 

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