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Original article from Dungeon 59

Note that at the time of publishing this was 2nd edition, thus all stats are still in 2nd Edition format

[top]Seeking Bloodsilver

By Christopher Perkins
Chris writes: "I hope this adventure does for the BIRTHRIGHT campaign what "Umbra" (Issue #55) did for the PLANESCAPET setting. If this adventure encourages even one gamer to run a BIRTHRIGHT campaign, I'll have done what I set out to do. For those who prefer their AD&D games straight up, this module also fits quite nicely into non-Cerilian campaigns.
"Seeking Bloodsilver" is an AD&D adventure designed for the BIRTHRIGHT campaign setting. The module is for 4-7 PCs of levels 2-4 (about 15 total levels). To run the scenario, the DM needs the BIRTHRIGHT boxed set and the AD&D MONSTROUS MANUAL? tome. The Blood Enemies sourcebook is useful but not required. For tips on converting the module to standard AD&D campaigns, see the "Adapting the Adventure" sidebar;
Before beginning play, the DM should be well-acquainted with all terms indigenous to the BIRTHRIGHT campaign ? particularly regent, scion, blood-line, bloodtheft, tighmaevril, and awnsheghlien; Although PCs may be rulers of various Anuirean domains, the actual adventure takes place in northern Mhoried and the Stonecrown Mountains. With a few minor adjustments, the DM can relocate the adventure to another mountain range closer to the center of action. The realms of Baruk-Azhik, Avanil, and Tuornen are suitable as alternate Anuiran locales, or the DM can choose a domain elsewhere on the continent of Cerilia.
The party should include one good-aligned PC who is the regent of a domain. The other PCs may be scions, unblooded individuals, regent advisors to the main PC regent, regents of holdings, or trusted lieutenants. At least one PC or henchman should be a priest or paladin with the ability to heal wounds and turn undead.
Adventure Background
Over 60 generations ago, the champions of good and the minions of evil fought a fierce battle at Mount Deismaar. The conflict was so great that the gods themselves became involved. They faced off in the skies and in the heavens, destroying themselves and blasting Mount Deismaar to rubble. Thousands perished in the resulting devastation. Hundreds, however, survived. The few survivors staggered from the battlefield, unknowingly imbued with the essence of the slain deities. These soldiers passed the bloodlines onto generations of descendants, each possessing a fraction of the gods' powers. These inheritors of the "divine essence" are known as scions. Some are destined to rule kingdoms, while others use their abilities to seize power by less traditional methods. Scions who become rulers are called regents.
Bloodlines and Bloodtheft
Not all bloodlines flourished after the battle of Mount Deismaar. Shortly after the destruction of the gods, it was learned that by slaying a scion, another scion could "snatch" the divine essence from his fallen foe, augment his own power, and strengthen his bloodline. Many families have risen to prominence in Cerilia by destroying scions of weaker bloodlines and usurping their power. By the same token, many bloodlines have vanished from Cerilia forever. The act of usurpation, or bloodtheft, can occur whenever two scions meet in battle; if a scion kills another blooded individual with a piercing blow to the heart, the slayer's bloodline strength increases.
The rarest kind of bloodtheft occurs when a scion is slain by a weapon made of tighmaevril (tie-MEE-vril), or blood-silver. This alloy is extremely rare, and thankfully so, for any scion who owns a tighmaevril weapon holds the fate of other scions in his hands. Tighmaevril was created by an elven smith over 2,000 years ago. In his lifetime, the smith crafted only 12 weapons from this rare, gleaming metal. A scion using a tighmaevril weapon to slay another scion steals the victim's bloodline strength and severs the victim's tie to his domain (assuming the victim is a regent). Over the years, the handful of bloodsilver weapons thought to exist have been spirited away.
Even without the presence of bloodsilver weapons, attempts by scions to destroy one another resulted in countless feuds and wars, many of which lasted centuries. Betrayals, duels, and acts of bloodtheft persist to this day. Bloodtheft is, in fact, a driving force of scions who inherited the "divine essence" of Azrai, the god of evil. Feared and despised by the descendants of the other gods, these "tainted" scion became known as the awnsheghlien (awn-SHAY-len), an elven term meaning "blood of darkness." These horrible remnants of humanity are physically and mentally twisted by the dark essence of Azrai, living like beasts on the fringes of society?lashing out at the weak, destroying the foolish, and conquering the vulnerable.
The Gorgon
Of all the awnsheghlien, the most powerful and feared is the Gorgon. In the past 2,000 years, he has become Cerilia's greatest collector of bloodsilver weaponry. He holds the largest collection of tighmaevril weapons thought to exist: four at last count, possibly more.
Not surprisingly, the Gorgon has spies throughout Cerilia. Through the eyes of these agents, the Gorgon watches his enemies closely. Regents or scions who become a threat to his power are drawn to his lair in the Gorgon's Crown and destroyed. Moreover, the Gorgon's appetite for bloodsilver is insatiable, so his agents keep their eyes and ears open for anything having to do with tighmaevril. The mere mention of the word is said to blare in the Gorgon's ear like a sounding horn, and anyone who embarks on a quest for bloodsilver is bound to encounter the awnshegh's vicious agents.

Adapting the Adventure
With changes, "Seeking Bloodsilver" fits nicely into any standard AD&D campaign. DMs unfamiliar with the BIRTHRIGHT setting should ignore references to blood abilities, bloodtheft, and the bloodline-stealing properties of tighmaevril. In a non-Cerilian setting, "bloodsilver" may simply be a rare or magical metal from which the finest weapons are forged, or it may have special properties like those described in the BIRTHRIGHT rulebook (page 31). Before running the module, the DM must flesh out the qualities or properties that make bloodsilver desirable.
In BIRTHRIGHT adventures, PCs are often accompanied by dedicated retinues of loyal henchmen. If the PCs complete the module alone, the DM may wish to raise the character levels from 2-4 to 4-6 (about 30 total levels).
The political landscape of Anuire may be ignored or incorporated into the DM's own campaign world. DMs wishing to preserve some of the political background may need to change domain names and rulers to suit their own campaign worlds. The Gorgon may be replaced by an evil arch-duke or a powerful warlord; PCs without domains of their own could be hired by a benevolent lord?perhaps a slightly wiser, less adventurous Eldred Gelien or someone else in need of their services?to retrieve the bloodsilver weapon from the ruined fortress. The Shadow World could exist in any campaign as an alternate dimension or pocket plane. "The Domain Turn" sidebar may be ignored completely.

The Shadow World
A scion named Eldred Gelien believes he knows where a tighmaevril weapon is hidden. This young upstart has spent the last month talking with a halfling "friend" about a dark and mysterious place known as the Shadow World. The halflings of Cerilia once resided in this demi-planar realm?a world that mirrored Cerilia until it was poisoned by the same "shapeless evil" that drove the halflings from their homeland.
Although the physical similarities between the two realms are unmistakable, the Shadow World's features have become dim and twisted. Halflings can peer back into the world they fled if they concentrate hard enough, and they are sensitive to areas where the membrane between the realms is thin enough to walk through.
Recently, Rldred's hafling friend Kylo discovered a portal to the ShadowWorld, within the ruins of Highwall?a fallen bastion located in the Stonecrown Mountains on the border separating the realm of Mhoried from the kingdom of Cariele, a short march from the western border of Markazor (domain of goblin queen Razzik Fanggrabber). Peering bravely through the portal, Kylo discovered that the fortress, though ruined in Cerilia, was perfectly intact in the Shadow World. Like its Cerilian counterpart, the fortress was built in a deep and treacherous mountain pass known to Anuireans as Mhelliviene ("Gates of Doom") and to elves as Toriendor Cuachlimyr ("Fools' Passage"). Kylo's exploration of the alternate fortress was halted suddenly by the approach of ancient skeletal horrors?the undead remains of slain Anuirean soldiers. Only a nimble leap through the portal saved the halfling from a grisly death.
Exploring the Shadow World didn't interest Eldred until he remembered an old legend about Highwall. A thousand years ago, elven raiders, the Sidhelien (SHEE-lin), struck hard into Anuirean territory, in what is now Mhoried. The humans chased the Sidhelien back into the mountains, whereupon the elves ambushed and killed an entire army of Anuirean soldiers. Several hundred years after the massacre, an Anuirean architect named Duar Tairien designed a fortress?a great wall joining two mountainsides?to discourage passage through Mhelliviene. However, the Cerilian fortress was abandoned centuries ago, after the guards began encountering spectral apparitions in its halls. The garrison didn't realize that Highwall stood close to the Shadow World. As a result, the guards endured many sleepless nights. When they finally left, they claimed the fortress was haunted by the spirits of those slain in the elven massacre. Anuirean leaders admitted that the fortress had lost its strategic importance, pointing to the treaty with the elves.
The fortress was shunned until, 400 years later, it served as a refuge for a renegade clan of dwarves driven from Thak Mor Kadan by the Gorgon's goblin hordes. The goblins were convinced that the dwarves had a tighmaevril spear in their custody, one that they presumably stashed in Highwall's vault to keep it from falling into the Gorgon's wicked clutches. The Gorgon's armies occupied what is now Torien's Watch (Mhoried's northern province) and laid siege to the fortress for many months before the goblin hordes and other monsters brought down its great wall and plundered the vault.
The tighmaevril weapon was never found. The Gorgon withdrew his army, deciding that the rumor of tighmaevril had been false. (Those advisors who had assured the Gorgon that the weapon was locked in the fortress died horribly.) But now, Eldred and Kylo believe that the weapon was never found only because the Gorgon had attacked the wrong fortress. They reasoned that the fabled weapon was probably taken from Cerilia into the Shadow World and hidden there?in an identical mountain fortress?beyond the reaches of the Gorgon's evil hordes. If their theory is correct, then the weapon must remain there today;
Seeking Bloodsilver
Eldred plans to visit the ruins of Highwall. Kylo knows of a passage to the Shadow World within the fortress' ruins, and he plans to lead Eldred there. Then they must wait until nightfall, when the membrane between worlds is thin enough for non-halflings to pass through.
To help him reach his destination alive, Eldred wants adventurers to accompany him. He has decided to tell another young scion or regent (one of the PCs) about his "discovery," so they may split any treasure between them. Eldred tires of the poor adventurer's life; he wants a holding or regency to call his own, and he believes the PCs can help him. In exchange for helping them retrieve the tighmaevril weapon, Eldred expects a captaincy, law holding regency, or something of similar importance. At the very least, Eldred wants to keep the bloodsilver weapon out of the Gorgon's clutches (and the hands of other evil scions and regents). Non-regent PCs have little to offer Eldred, but he will help them anyway, if only to oppose the Gorgon. Eldred's enmity for the Gorgon stems from an incident involving one of his ancestors. (See "Meeting Eldred and Kylo" below).
Unfortunately, Eldred is not aware that his "good friend" Kylo is something of an entrepreneur. The halfling has always been offended by the fact that he is unblooded. Kylo believes he can obtain the bloodsilver weapon (with Eldred's help), ransom it off to the highest bidder, and buy himself a kingdom, unaware that the Gorgon isn't likely to play by his rules.
Unknown to both Eldred and Kylo, agents of the Gorgon have already learned about the shadow-fortress and have informed their master of the discovery. (See "For the Dungeon Master" below.) The Gorgon has sent two half-ogre henchman, Skorn and Murkblade, into Mhelliviene to locate the tighmaevril. The half-ogre brothers have a special blood ability that enables them to sniff out tighmaevril, making them well-suited for the task. The Gorgon treats the half-ogres like prized pets; their lack of ambition makes them unquestioningly loyal, and their brutality has won a special place in the Gorgon's black heart. However, should they fail in their task, their fate is sealed. The Gorgon does not reward failure.

The Doamin Turn
One of the features that distinguishes the BIRTHRIGHT campaign from other AD&D settings is the domain turn. A single domain turn lasts three months, during which time regents direct the growth of their domains by doing what's expected of them: setting taxes, building armies and fortresses, engaging in diplomatic ventures, waging war, dealing with family matters, and maintaining various holdings. Regents who partake in an adventure must expend a minimum of one action round (the equivalent of roughly one month) doing so. Barring any unforeseen plot deviations, "Seeking Bloodsilver" takes place during a single action round.
Domain turns provide a backdrop for the campaign and give the PCs other concerns besides slaying monsters and plundering ruins. Assuming the PC regents survive and avoid capture, the DM may flesh out the remainder of the domain turn using the "Domain Sequence of Play" section below. The regent's actions may have effects and consequences back home in the regent's own domain; some of the more plausible repercussions of the adventure are outlined in "Concluding the Adventure."
Keeping Track of Time
Time is a crucial element in any BIRTHRIGHT campaign. If the adventure takes more than one month (including travel time), the PC expends one action round for each month of absence. The DM may want to track time using the Anuirean calendar on the map sheet in the BIRTHRIGHT boxed set. The DM can record the day the PCs embark on their quest and the day they return (and any other events of consequence).
Domain Sequence of Play
The following section shows how the adventure can he worked into a typical domain turn. The DM should refer to the BIRTHRIGHT Rulebook, pages 39-48, for a detailed description of the domain turn sequence.
1. Roll Random Events. Instead of rolling for a random event that could sideline the PC regent, the DM should use this part of the domain turn to introduce Eldred and Kylo. See the "Meeting Eldred and Kylo" section for details.
2. Determine Domain Initiative. Anuirean politics are a dangerous game. Nevertheless, the DM should try to ease political tensions with neighboring regents and kingdoms several domain turns prior to this adventure, lest the PC regent decline to participate in the adventure. Unless the DM wishes to introduce a rival domain as an added threat, assume that all neighboring kingdoms are inactive for the turn (building armies and so forth). In this case, assuming there is only one PC regent, the DM may forego the initiative roll. Introducing an added threat is not recommended unless the average PC level is 4 or higher. If the DM plans to use this adventure as a springboard for further political intrigue, he must select a domain as the Enemy. The Enemy must have at least one spy in the PC regent's court. The enemy becomes involved when the spy overhears a conversation between Eldred and the PCs concerning rumors of tighmaevril in Highwall. In this case, the Enemy is considered active, and domain initiative should be rolled normally.
3. Collect Regency Points. The PC regent calculates his current Regency Point score. See page 40 in the rulebook.
4. Taxation, Collection, and Trade. The PC regent declares taxation (light, moderate, or severe), then rolls to determine how many GBs are collected per province, holding, and trade route, as well as how many GBs are lost due to claims by law holdings. See pages 41-44 in the rulebook.
5. Pay Domain Maintenance. Maintenance, payroll, and court costs and the penalties for failing to meet them?are detailed on pages 44-46 of the rulebook.
6. Declare Free Actions. Discussing plans with Eldred and Kylo, digging up information on these NPCs, dispatching emissaries to neighboring realms, and traveling to other provinces within the PC regent's own domain are considered free actions. The DM should note in which province the PCs meet with Eldred, since this may have some bearing on the success of the Enemy's espionage attempt (see below).
Sending an emissary to inform the Mhor of the party's "visit" is considered a free action; likewise, the PC regent may dispatch an emissary to discuss terms with the Gorgon. (Only the bold est lieutenants would dare enter the Gorgon's Crown on the PC's behalf. Anyone else would consider the trip a death sentence.) The Gorgon already knows about the tighmaevril weapon in Highwall and has no interest in enter taining an ambassador from the PC regent's domain. During the first action round (see 7 below), the Gorgon slays the emissary, then instructs some lackey to deliver the emissary's head to the PC regent's court.
If the DM has activated an Enemy who is both a regent and a thief, the Enemy takes one free espionage action this turn. The Enemy uses a spy in the PC regent's court to uncover Eldred's quest and return with the information. The success of the espionage attempt depends on the level of the PC regent's province and the number of loyal law holdings in the province. (See page 54 of the rulebook for details.)
7, 8, 9. Action Rounds. The adven ture can take place in the first action round, or the PCs may postpone their departure until the second or third action round; If the PC regent partici pates in the adventure, the domain turn is suspended until the adventure is resolved. The Enemy (if active) uses his first action round to learn of Eldred's quest. If this was already accomplished in 6 (above), the Enemy sends an assas sin to kill Eldred instead, hoping that his sudden death will dissuade the PC regent from completing the adventure. If either espionage attempt fails, the Enemy may use another espionage action to kidnap Eldred or Kylo, thus distracting the PC regent from the adventure at hand;
Vara (unblooded Anuirean thief): AL NE; AC 7; MV 12; T5; hp 16; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon; D 17; SA back stab (x3); ML 10; XP 650; PP 55%, OL 30%, F/RT 25%, MS 75%, HS 60%, DN 35%, CW 75%; dagger (secret compart ment holds Type D poison, good for 3 successful attacks). In the guise of a guard or serving maid, Vara attempts to move close enough to Eldred to stab him with her poisoned dagger. If cap tured, Vara claims to work for someone other than the true Enemy, although certain spells and blood abilities may reveal the truth.
If the PC regent delays his departure to Highwall, he risks losing ground to the Enemy. The Enemy, if active, dispatches a small retinue of 1d10+10 henchmen to retrieve the bloodsilver weapon in the final action round. This retinue may be commanded by the regent himself or a trusted lieutenant.
Page 49 of the rulebook lists several other actions a PC or Enemy regent may take during any given action round. Here are some possibilities and their likely outcomes:
Agitate/Contest: A regent (PC or Enemy) may attempt to stabilize a province's loyalty to himself or reduce the loyalty rating in one of his oppo nent's provinces; To affect the loyalty rating in a rival's domain requires the agitating regent to possess at least one law holding in the affected province. Contesting an opponent's holdings or provinces is a much more dangerous affair. PCs attempting this maneuver may provoke an untimely war.
Declare War: The Enemy does not declare war unless the PC regent does something blatantly aggressive, like conduct acts of espionage, cast realm spells that adversely affect the Enemy's domain, or declare war. The DM should assume that the Enemy has armies comparable or superior to those of the PC regent unless the PC has invested considerable time and money building armies. If the Enemy is much stronger (or weaker) than the PC regent, the Enemy may demand (or agree to pay) tribute to avoid war.
Diplomacy: A regent (PC or Enemy) may form a new alliance or break an existing one. If the PC regent and Enemy regent were allies at the start of the domain turn, one or the other may choose to break the alliance in response to some hostile action. The PC or Enemy regent may try to force concessions in lieu of open warfare.
10. Adjust Loyalty and Regency. The PC regent must always guard against civil revolt. See pages 47-48 of the rulebook for details. If the PC regent dies during the adventure, his heir assumes control of the domain and inherits the PC's Regency Point score. If the regent dies before an heir is chosen, the domain becomes uncontrolled and plunges into rebellion, as petty lords and lieutenants vie for control. If the PC regent survives (or is succeeded by a rightful heir), the domain turn can begin anew. The party's exploration of Highwall could lay the groundwork for any num ber of "random events" set to occur dur ing the next several domain turns. The "Concluding the Adventure" section pro vides the DM with several suggestions and hooks for future adventures involv ing the PC regent, the realm of Mhoried, and the dreaded Gorgon.

For the Dungeon Master
The adventure revolves around the party's quest for an unidentified tighmaevril weapon. Joining the PCs is the ambitious scion from Mhoried, Eldred Gelien, and his equally ambitious halfling friend, Kylo. Kylo knows the quickest (and presumably safest) route to Highwall, located in the Stonecrown Mountains. However, there are many obstacles standing in the way of success, beginning with the tighmaevril weapon itself;
Unknown to Eldred and the Gorgon, the weapon locked in Highwall's vault is not made of tighmaevril; Genuine tighmaevril is extremely rare. Also unknown to the pair is that Brichlur (a magical spear +3) was smuggled into Highwall by the dwarven renegades to divert the attentions of the Gorgon. The maneuver paid off well. At about the same time the Gorgon's army was laying siege to the remote mountain fortress, several hundred dwarves successfully fled Mur-Kilad, heading toward safer realms beyond the Gorgon's reach. In effect, the renegades at Highwall gave their own lives to help hundreds of dwarves escape the Gorgon's tyranny.
Eldred's family poses another problem. The young scion's excursion has piqued the interest of his uncle, Regien. As first advisor to the Mhor, Regien is a powerful figure in Mhoried. A wizard of some ability, Regien controls most of the realm's magical sources, including a source in the province of Torien's Watch. Regien monitors Eldred's activities carefully, ensuring that the young lad's "adventuring" does not trigger a scandal or drag Mhoried into war. At a recent family gathering, Regien used an ESP spell to read his nephew's mind, thus learning of Eldred's quest. Regien has since turned to his daughter, Taerlyn, for assistance. Taerlyn has more adventuring experience than Eldred, and she knows a fair deal about the Stonecrowns. Taerlyn has made arrangements to explore the fortress of Highwall and retrieve the tighmaevril weapon for her father. (Regien believes he is better equipped to keep the weapon out of the Gorgon's hands.) Eldred and the PCs encounter Taerlyn and her henchmen at the ruins.
Although she is a skilled warrior, Taerlyn does not choose her colleagues wisely. One of her "loyal" henchmen, a Mur-Kiladan dwarf named Delvyn, has a talking crow who happens to be a polymorphed Markaz goblin named Kracklevorn. (The goblins of Markazor and the dwarves of Mur-Kilad fight under the same banner?that of the Gorgon.) Before setting out, Delvyn sent Kracklevorn back to Markazor, where the "crow" informed the Gorgon's spies of Taerlyn's quest. Kracklevorn has since returned to Delvyn, accompanying the dwarf to Highwall.
As if Taerlyn isn't trouble enough, the PCs eventually come face-to-face with the Gorgon's half-ogre henchmen, Skorn and Murkblade. The brothers have infiltrated Mhoried's borders and stop at nothing to reach Highwall's vault, eliminating anyone who stands between them and the bloodsilver; The two half-ogres can "smell" bloodsilver within 120 yards?a blood ability afforded to them as scions of Azrai. Once the half-ogres realize the spear is not made of bloodsilver, they abandon their quest and return to Cerilia to inform their master. (Before departing, the half-ogres try to slay Eldred, Kylo, Taerlyn and anyone else who knowingly or unwittingly spread lies about the existence of tighmaevril!)
Eldred and the PCs may keep any treasure for themselves once the half-ogres have been slain or driven away. Taerlyn will no doubt want her "share" of the treasure as well, turning against her cousin and the party if she doesn't get her way. If the PCs harm or slay Taerlyn, they will surely invite the wrath of her father and possibly the Mhor himself.
Beginning the Adventure
Unless the DM has a different preference, the adventure takes place in Mhoried. Mhoried is the home of Eldred Gelien and is not available to PCs as a starting regency. Nevertheless, it provides a good starting point for blooded and unblooded PCs who are not regents.
If the party includes a regent, the DM may wish to begin the adventure in the regent's own domain and work from there. The DM must devise a way for the PCs and Eldred to meet; Either the PCs must travel to Mhoried, or Eldred must come to them. In either event, the DM should incorporate the adventure into the regular domain turn; DMs running BIRTHRIGHT campaigns should refer to "The Domain Turn" sidebar for details;
If the PCs are to meet Eldred in Mhoried, the DM must concoct a logical reason why the PC regent would leave his domain. Perhaps the PC regent wishes to meet with the Mhor to discuss "mutual concerns" regarding the goblin-queen of Markazor or to establish a trade route between the PC's domain and the realm of Mhoried. (Either task requires the regent to use an action round.) More likely, the PC has a friend or acquaintance in Mhoried's court and happens toencounter young Eldred during a diplomatic visit. (DMs running established Cerilian campaigns or adapting this adventure to another AD&D game setting may replace Eldred with another NPC who is familiar to the PCs).
If Eldred takes the initiative and visits the PC regent, he simply arrives at the PC's court (with Kylo), introduces himself, and asks to discuss a matter of utmost secrecy. This encounter should take place during the regular domain turn (see "The Domain Turn" sidebar), before the three action rounds.
Meeting Eldred and Kylo
Read or paraphrase the following when the PCs meet Eldred Gelien and Kylo the halfling for the first time:

A young knight dressed in polished chain mail stands before you, flanked by two of your guards. The young man's shield is emblazoned with the symbol of a silver, two-headed dragon. With his dark looks and pale blue eyes, he seems more like an unprincipled Brecht than an Anuirean nobleman; However, he bows to you respectfully and introduces himself as Eldred Gelien of Mhoried. Standing by the young man's side is a small, cherubic halfling with auburn hair and chestnut-brown apparel.
Once he has the regent's attention, Eldred privately relates the information concerning Highwall and the blood-silver weapon as given in "The Shadow World." The DM should paraphrase this section of the "Adventure Background" for the players as if Eldred were recounting the tale.
Eldred Gelien (blooded Anuirean fighter): AL CG; AC 4 (2 with shield +1); MV 12; F3; hp 20; THAC0 18 (base); #AT 1 (3/2 with broad sword); Dmg by weapon type (+2 with specialization); S 15, D 15, C 13, 111, W 10, Ch 14; ML 13; chain mail, shield +1 (named Draeke; emblazoned with his arms), broad sword (specialized), short-sword. Eldred's bloodline (major, strength: 25) derives from Reynir.
Blood abilities: alertness (surprised only on a 1), blood history (see below), resistance (50% resistance to slow, entangle, hold, and similar restraining spells).
Eldred speaks Anuirean and knows several colorful Sidhelien expressions. He is well-schooled, articulate, and unfailingly gallant. His dark, striking looks are inherited from his mother, a blooded Brecht. Eldred is not an only child; he has three arrogant step-brothers from his father's first marriage to a blooded Anuirean noblewoman; PC regents may use a free action to learn more about Eldred and his family (see "The Domain Turn" sidebar). The House of Gelien is proud and honorable. Any effort to uncover shady dealings requires a successful espionage attempt (during an action round unless the PC regent is a thief). One of Eldred's step-brothers might be involved in some sinister plot (DM's discretion); however, Eldred has no evil or duplicitous intentions.
Eldred seeks greatness. He carries with him the memories of his ancestor, Daeric Gelien, who distinguished himself in battle against the Gorgon's evil hordes. Eldred's blood history ability allows him to conjure up images of that battle in his own mind, wherein he can see (through Daeric's eyes) the Anuirean troops fighting the Gorgon and his vast armies. Eldred can describe the climactic confrontation between Daeric and the awnshegh atop a mountain in the Gorgon's Crown, and he tells how Daeric was impaled by the Gorgon's bloodsilver sword Lifender and left to die. When asked why he would stand in defiance of the Gorgon, Eldred explains that he believes his destiny is someday to avenge Daeric Gelien's death.
Eldred's family is prominent in Mhoried, but Eldred is unwilling to rest on his laurels and let "the family name" carry him throughout life. Several dozen relatives stand between him and a regency. Needless to say, Eldred has started looking for "career opportunities" beyond Mhoried's borders.
Eldred's greatest virtue is perhaps his greatest failing: he trusts too easily. For instance, he has placed a great deal of trust in the hafling Kylo, and he quickly regards PCs as confidantes. Thinking that the PC regent is good-aligned (by reputation and past deeds), Eldred intends to share his "secret" with the PCs in the hope that they will help him retrieve the tighmaevril weapon from Highwall before it falls into evil hands. Eldred believes the PCs are better suited to keep and guard the weapon, but he expects to get something for its recovery. Specifically, he wants a plum role in the PC's domain. When asked what role he intends to fill, Eldred suggests either Captain of the Guard (of a town, castle, or similar fortification) or regent of a law holding. Naturally, he intends to prove his worth over the course of the adventure.
If the PC regent refuses to see Eldred or turns down Eldred's offer, the young scion tries to explain how possession of a tighmaevril weapon can provide security against scions who would try to usurp the PC regent's power. (There is also the prestige of owning such a weapon. Countless regents would pay through the teeth to own one!) Eldred also urges the PCs to investigate Highwall before word of the bloodsilver leaks out to other regents and scions. Rival kingdoms may have spies in the PC regent's court!
Kylo the Wanderer (unblooded halfling fighter/thief): AL N (good tendencies); AC 6; MV 6; F1/T2; hp 9; THAC0 19 (base); #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type; SA +1 to hit with slings and thrown missile weapons, surprise; SD detect evil, detect undead, and detect magic (necromancy only) with 75% chance of success; dimension door or shadow walk (usable thrice/week, chance of success varies); S 14, D 17, C 15, 110, W 12, Ch 11; ML 10; PP 40%, OL 35%, F/RT 30%, MS 45%, HS 40%, DN 30%, CW 65%, RL 5%; cloak of protection +1, shortsword, sling with 12 bullets.
PCs who cast an ESP spell on Kylo or use the blood ability character reading discover that Kylo is more interested insecuring the tighmaevril weapon for himself than in helping Eldred or the party. (See "Seeking Bloodsilver" in the "Adventure Background" for details.) If he cannot acquire a tighmaevril weapon, Kylo settles for treasure?anything to secure his future and make his life easier. He is especially fond of rings and gems.
Before setting out for Highwall, Kylo recommends that PC clerics stock up on vials of holy water. Although he grossly understates the matter, Kylo informs the party that undead are known to lurk within the Shadow World. He encountered several animated skeletons the last time he set foot in the fortress.

New Blood Abilities
Blood Sense (Minor, Major)
As a minor ability, the scion can sense the presence of blooded individuals within a radius of 60' + 10' per level (or Hit Dice). The scion can also deduce thc bloodline strength category (tainted, minor, major, or great) of any blooded individual within range. As a major ability, the scion can determine the relative bloodline strength scores of individuals in the same category. For example, if two individuals with tainted bloodlines are detected, the scion can accurately deduce which of the two has the higher bloodline score.
Derivations: Reynir, Brenna, Vorynn, Azrai
Locate Bloodsilver (Minor)
This ability allows the scion to sense bloodsilver (tighmaevril) within a radius of 50 yards + 10 yards per level (or Hit Dice). Thus, a 7th-level scion can sense the presence of tighmaevril within 120 yards. The scion can follow the "smell" to its source in much the same way a potion of treasure finding guides one to treasure. The scent of tighmaevril is detectable only by scions with this blood ability. The aroma is similar to that of cinnamon, yet most of the scions with this ability find the smell unappealing. An obscure object spell (reverse of locate object) prevents this blood ability from functioning; the scion does not detect tighmaevril even if the metal is within sensory range.
Derivations: Azrai

Crossing Mhoried
Eldred and Kylo know the most direct route to Highwall. Whether the PCs choose to inform the Mhor of their journey is their decision (as a matter of courtesy). The PC regent may send a messenger to notify the Mhor without using an action round. Eldred recommends that the PCs act discreetly. He does not want anyone to learn the true purpose of their quest, lest they encounter other scions eager to secure the fabled bloodsilver weapon. The Mhor doesn't care if a small band of adventurers enters his borders. A regent who enters Mhoried with dozens of armed soldiers, however, is cause for concern.
Information on Mhoried is given on pages 33, 38, and 39 in the BIRTHRIGHT Ruins of Empire booklet. The PCs can learn several things about Mhoried from their advisors (if the PCs are regents) or Eldred:
  • The Mhor, Daeric Mhoried, guarantees every Mhorien fair and equitable treatment. The citizens of Mhoried are tough and hardy, and the Mhor is well-respected and admired by most of them.
  • The bulk of Mhoried's army is stationed in the northeastern provinces, warding against invasions from Markazor and the Gorgon. The Mhoriens are also wary of their southern neighbor, Ghoere.
  • The Mhor's advisor, Regien, controls most of the magic of Mhoried, protecting the land against rival sorcery. Regien is Eldred's uncle, although their relationship is best described as distant and dispassionate.
  • Most of Mhoried's laws boil down to one essential rule: do what you please, so long as you hurt no one else.

Through Torien's Watch
Torien's Watch is Mhoried's northernmost province. It is heavily wooded and sparsely populated. The Guardians of Mhoried (trained Mhorien soldiers) watch vigilantly for goblin and dwarven raiders from neighboring Markazor, as well as orog intruders from the Five Peaks. Foot patrols are common throughout Torien's Watch, and they tend to be larger and more heavily armed than their southern counterparts.
The northern border of Torien's Watch is formed by the Stonecrowns?a wall of mountains that separates Mhoried from the kingdom of Cariele.
To reach the Carielean capital of Caerlinien, one must navigate Mhelliviene, a deep mountain pass. The ruins of Highwall are located in this gorge (see map).
The party's arrival at Highwall is preceded by two encounters. "Act of Bloodtheft" takes place in the woods south of Highwall. "The Wyvern Strikes" occurs in the foothills of the Stonecrowns, shortly after the party emerges from the woods. These encounters occur regardless of the size of the party's entourage.
Act of Bloodtheft
As the PCs make their way through the woods of Torien's Watch, they are beset by a small band of brigands. The brigands have disguised themselves as trees using magical elixirs taken from a druid's hovel. (The druid lived in the western woods of Torien's Watch, until the brigands attacked and killed her three days ago.) The elixirs' effect is similar to the druid's tree spell, although imbibers can shift back and forth between forms until the elixir wears off in 1d4 turns.
There are 11 brigands altogether. The brigand leader, Aderack Arlekkas, is a Rjurik exile wanted for brigandry in the northern kingdom of Dhoesone. (The price on his head amounts to 500 gp.) As Eldred and the PCs approach the polymorphed brigands, Aderack reverts to human form and confronts them alone. Read or paraphrase the following:

One of the trees up ahead suddenly shivers, as if shaken by a strong wind. Before your eyes, the great tree alters shape until it transforms into a tall, armored man. The figure has long blonde hair swept back from the forehead, and his face is heavily scarred. His eyes, like two black coals, watch you with something other than good intentions.
Aderack is bold and haughty, proclaiming himself "slayer of scions." (He did kill a scion or two in Dhoesone, which explains his higher bloodline strength score and the equally high bounty on his head.) Aderack is a brutal, intimidating warrior. His blood sense ability (see "New Blood Abilities" sidebar) enables him to determine which PCs and NPCs have tainted, minor, major, and great bloodlines. Once he detects the presence of blooded individuals, he tries to improve his own bloodline strength by challenging the PC or NPC with the highest bloodline strength to an "honorable" fight to the death.
If the party accepts Aderack's challenge, Aderack chooses the opponent he wishes to fight. If Aderack challenges a PC regent, the regent is expected to fight his own battle, not to appoint a champion. If Aderack's challenge is directed at Eldred, the young Mhorien knight accepts and fights to the best of his ability.
The rules for bloodtheft are given on page 31 of the BIRTHRIGHT Rulebook. To increase his bloodline strength, Aderack must slay his blooded opponent with a piercing blow to the heart. This blow must be a called shot (-4 to hit), and damage must be sufficient to reduce his opponent to 0 hp. A scion reduced to 0 hp this way is dead and cannot be healed magically or otherwise. (If the DM uses the critical hit tables in the PLAYER'S OPTION?: Combat & Tactics rules, called shots are unnecessary)
If the PCs attack Aderack, the other 10 brigands revert to their human forms and discharge their crossbows. After one round of watching the party, the brigands can assess which PCs and NPCs are most threatening and target them specifically. Their initial crossbow bolts are coated with Type C poison (save at +1). After discharging their bolts, the brigands attack with their long swords or flee into the woods (assuming the form of trees once they are out of the party's sight).
If Aderack wins the challenge and succeeds in usurping a portion of his opponent's bloodline strength, he wipes his short sword clean on the victim's corpse and either lets the party continue on its way or heads off into the woods. (If he is attacked, the brigands retaliate in kind.) If Aderack slays his foe without piercing him through the heart, he usurps none of the victim's bloodline strength. Infuriated by his own failure, he challenges another PC to battle. If the PC refuses, the enraged Aderack orders his brigands to attack.
If no PC or NPC accepts Aderack's initial challenge, Aderack makes some snide comment about their cowardice and demands 500 gp of treasure as compensation for the "insult." If the PCs refuse, he warns them that failure to comply may lead to bloodshed. (If the PCs persist in making things difficult, Aderack orders the brigands to open fire.) If the party has no treasure or jewelry, Aderack accepts horses and well-crafted weapons (enough for his entire band).
Clever PCs can persuade Aderack and the other brigands to join them in their quest. The mention of tighmaevril sparks Aderack's interest, and the opportunity to plunder Highwall's vault appeals to him. However, Aderack and his men cannot be trusted. They may turn against the party if they receive less than their "fair share."
Aderack Arlekkas (blooded Rjuven fighter): AL NE; AC 3 (4 without shield); MV 12; F4; hp 39; THAC0 17 (base); #AT 1 (3/2 with long sword); Dmg by weapon type +3 (strength), +2 (specialization); S 18/62 (+2/+3), D 15, C 16, 1 11, W 9, Ch 12; ML 15; XP 420; chain mail, shield, long sword (specialized), short sword, dagger (strapped to boot). Like Eldred, Aderack's bloodline (tainted, strength: 22) derives from Reynir.
Blood abilities: blood sense (minor; see "New Blood Abilities" sidebar), iron will (+2 to saves vs. mind-controlling magic).
Brigands (10 unblooded Anuirean fighters): AL NE; AC 7; MV 12; Fl; hp 8 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type; SA poisoned bolts (see above); ML 10; XP 35; piecemeal armor (AC 7), light crossbow (2d6 bolts apiece), long sword, dagger.
The Wyvern Strikes
Like dragons, wyverns are rare in Anuire. However, the Stonecrowns have recently become the hunting ground of a rogue wyvern named Vrachspir (or "Darkspike"). This predator plagued the kingdom of Kiergard for years until it was finally driven away by magic. Through the clouds, it spots the party advancing toward Mhelliviene and descends to attack. If the party makes a successful surprise roll, someone in the retinue spots the great beast as it begins its descent. The wyvern is undeterred by numbers, attacking the party regardless of how many henchmen the PCs have.
The wyvern is especially fond of horses. If the PCs dismount to confront the wyvern, it swoops down and snatches up the nearest horse (attack roll required) before heading off. PCs and NPCs who place themselves between the wyvern and its intended prey are attacked.
Vrachspir (wyvern): INT low; AL N(E); AC 3; MV 6, fly 24 (E); HD 7+7; hp 45 (currently 38); THAC0 13; #AT 2 (bite/stinger); Dmg 2d8/1d6; SA poison (save or die); SZ G (35' long); ML 14; XP 1,400; MM/366.
If the PCs draw Vrachspir into melee range, they see two crossbow bolts embedded in the wyvern's neck?the result of a brief skirmish involving Taerlyn and her men. (See "Taerlyn & Company" for details.)
The Ruins of Highwall
Mhelliviene is a lengthy gorge carved through the mountains by erosion. The mountains that line the gorge are sheer and treacherous to climb. Anyone attempting to do so finds that the stone crumbles easily; all climbing checks are made at ?15%. The ruined fortress of Highwall lies deep within this mountain gorge. Regardless of the time they reach the fortress, Eldred and the PCs encounter Taerlyn and her mercenaries as soon as they arrive. See "Taerlyn & Company" below for details.
Read or paraphrase the following when the PCs arrive within sight of the ruins:

The fortress that once joined two mountains now stands in ruins, its mighty wall sundered and reduced to a pile of rubble. The only sections of Highwall left standing are those built into the mountainsides. These fortifications remain largely intact, although the wall's collapse and years of neglect have taken their toll. In places, the stonework has crumbled away, exposing sections of the fortress interior.
To locate the tighmaevril weapon, the PCs must first enter the Shadow World; Between sunfall (7:00 P.M.) and midnight, there is an increasing 20% chance/hour of a naturally-occurring portal opening in area 1. Between midnight and 1:00 A.M., the chance is 100%. From 1:00 A.M. to sunrise (5:00 A.M.), the chance diminishes by 20% per hour. Once opened, the portal remains until touched by the light of the sun. For details on the portal itself, refer to area 1 in the "Highwall in Shadows" section.
Halflings have no control over natural portals leading to the Shadow World. However, halflings and other individuals with the shadow walk ability do not need a portal to enter the Shadow World, provided they are somewhere inside the fortress or ruins. Such individuals have a 10% of crossing in bright daylight; this chance increases as the daylight wanes, up to 80% at midnight. All chances are improved by +20%, however, if the individuals stand in area 1 when the "crossover" is attempted. Those who cannot shadow walk must be led into the Shadow World by a halfling (or other shadow walker) or wait in area 1 until nightfall. The shadow walk spell enables a halfling or wizard to take others into the Shadow World, provided these individuals are in contact with the halfling or wizard when the spell is cast.
Taerlyn & Company
Huddled around a smoldering fire in area 1 are Taerlyn and her band of hired mercenaries. Fifteen of these mercenaries are unshaven Anuirean fighters. The rest of the company consists of Ruornad (Taerlyn's trusted lieutenant), Shaene Nagor (a magician-for-hire), Parniel (a halfling thief), and Delvyn (a one-eyed dwarven fighter). Delvyn's talking crow is actually a polymorphed Markaz goblin named Kracklevorn.
Taerlyn and her band arrived at Highwall only hours before the PCs. They traveled to the fortress on foot and lost a man fighting the wyvern Vrachspir. (The man was carried away and devoured.) Another mercenary died fighting the giant scorpion in area 8. When the PCs encounter them, Taerlyn and the other "name" NPCs are waiting for night to fall, at which point they expect to cross over into the Shadow World and explore the alternate fortress. If night has already fallen, Taerlyn and the others are either waiting for the portal to open, or they've just completed the crossover (and are encountered on the "other side"). The 15 unnamed mercenaries in Taerlyn's retinue will not enter the Shadow World. They remain in the ruins to prevent others from following Taerlyn into the alternate fortress.
Taerlyn is expecting to encounter Eldred at some point, and she has prepared her men accordingly. Most of them are hidden behind the piles of debris (see area 1 below), except for a few spotters facing east. If Eldred is with the PCs, he does not recognize Taerlyn when he sees her; she uses her alter appearance blood ability to appear as a bearded male warrior. This disguise, similar to the wizard's change self spell, lasts for 14 rounds.
When the party's retinue approaches within 50' of the ruins, Taerlyn signals her mercenaries to attack. (She has no intention of allowing others to snatch the tighmaevril weapon, and she expects that this show of force will drive the PCs away.) Assuming a fight ensues, Taerlyn and Ruornad join the battle if three or more mercenaries fall. Kracklevorn takes flight and circles the battlefield. The magician, Shaene Nagor, remains outside the battle zone with Delvyn nearby to protect him. The halfling thief, Parniel, hides in shadows the instant Eldred and the PCs are spotted, using his backstab ability when the opportunity arises.
Taerlyn has given her men a detailed description of Eldred; under no circumstances will they harm him. (They may attempt to disarm him, however.) This respect for family applies to Eldred as well, for he would never blatantly or deliberately harm Taerlyn. If she is still disguised and Eldred is placed in the position of harming her, Taerlyn reverts to her true appearance and breaks off the melee.
If half the mercenaries are slain, the DM should roll against their morale. If they fail the roll, the mercenaries surrender and ask to join the PCs. If the entire mercenary company is defeated, Taerlyn surrenders. She also surrenders if she or Ruornad is seriously injured. (To her, "surrender" does not entail relinquishing her weapons, and she attacks anyone who attempts to remove them.) If Aderack and his brigands joined the party (see "Act of Bloodtheft"), they may turn against the PCs if the battle swings in Taerlyn's favor. Even if she is defeated, Taerlyn may attempt to buy Aderack's loyalty at some later time.
If the PCs surrender to Taerlyn's forces, Taerlyn orders them to throw down their weapons and depart Mhelliviene immediately. Kylo the halfling tries to persuade Taerlyn to let him stay. After all, who knows the Shadow World better than a halfling? If the halfling Parniel is still alive, Taerlyn has no use for Kylo's services and denies his request. If Parniel was slain in the battle, however, Taerlyn reluctantly agrees to take Kylo in his place. If two or more "name" NPCs are slain, Taerlyn may be persuaded to take others into the Shadow World to help combat the undead thought to dwell on the other side. She also accepts the services of a PC priest, provided the cleric has the ability to turn undead. If the PCs have nothing to offer and refuse to surrender, Taerlyn may be forced to use a more compelling means of persuasion.
Taerlyn (blooded Anuirean fighter): AL N; AC 2; MV 12; F4; hp 33; THAC0 17 (base); #AT 1 (3/2 with footman's flail); Dmg by weapon type (+2 with specialization); S 15, D 15, C 12, I 11, W 9 (13 with heightened ability), Ch 14; ML 13; XP 420; fluted plate mail +1 (endows wearer with alertness; +1 bonus to surprise rolls; named "Bloodguard"), helm of bravery (shaped like a lion's head; +2 to save vs. fear-related magic), footman's flail +2 (no special abilities; named Flennys, or "Iron wind"), short sword. Taerlyn's bloodline (major, strength: 27) derives from Vorynn. In addition to her specialized weapon (flail), Taerlyn is proficient with the spear and long sword.
Blood abilities: alter appearance (lasts 14 rounds, usable once/day), heightened ability (improves Wisdom by 4 points).
Taerlyn has no qualms about slaying rival scions who stand in her way; She strives to help her father by retrieving the fabled tighmaevril weapon supposedly contained in Highwall's vault. A young and passionate woman, Taerlyn enjoys hunting and sleeping under the stars. She respects and loves Ruornad, but he is unblooded, and thus they can never marry. (Taerlyn knows her father would not allow it.) She has already pledged to marry a young gentleman named Gaelin who lives in Bevaldruour and hails from a respected Mhorien family. She is happy with this arrangement and looks forward to starting her own family.
Taerlyn does not trust the mercenaries with her life. That responsibility is placed squarely on the broad shoulders of her lieutenant, Ruornad.
Ruornad (unblooded Anuirean fighter): AL N (good tendencies); AC 4; MV 12; F5; hp 42; THAC0 16 (base); #AT 1 (3/2 with spear); Dmg by weapon type +1 (Strength), +2 (specialization); S 17 (+1/+1), D 12, C 15, I 11, W 12, Ch 13; ML 15; XP 420; chain mail +1 (named Haelcalus, or "Warskin"), helm, spear +1 (9' long, iron-tipped shaft; named Brichtal, or "Longspear"), broadsword, fur-lined cloak. In addition to his weapon specialization (spear), Ruornad is proficient with the mace and all long-bladed weapons.
Ruornad's huge frame is a striking contrast to Taerlyn's slight figure, but together they make a fearsome team. Ruornad has known Taerlyn since she was a child, and the two have trained together for years. Ruornad is a fair man with a tolerant attitude. However, attacking Taerlyn is one way to arouse his temper. If the PCs rout Taerlyn's mercenaries, Ruornad advises her to surrender before further blood is spilt.
Shaene Nagar (unblooded Anuirean magician): AL N (evil tendencies); AC 9; MV 12; M5; hp 12; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon or spell; D 15, 117, W 15; ML 8; XP 420; robe, short sword, light crossbow, nine bolts.
Spells memorized: detect magic, detect undead, magic missile (x2), spook; blur, detect invisibility, ESP; wraithform (x2).
Shaene is a quiet, clean-shaven man. Beneath his contemplative brow, behind those clear blue eyes, one can almost see the wheels turning in his brain. Shaene has spent the last year researching the history of the Shadow World in the hopes of someday learning its secrets. He believes that doing so will enhance his abilities as a spell-caster. He has no loyalty to Taerlyn; he simply wants to see what lies in the Shadow World and take whatever magical items or knowledge he finds there.
When combat erupts, Shaene casts a blur spell on himself and attacks using his spook and magic missile spells. Once these spells are exhausted, he attacks with his crossbow or uses a wraithform spell to avoid taking damage. (Ideally, he saves these spells for safe passage through the Shadow World.) If things go badly for Taerlyn and Shaene fails his morale check, he turns against her and sides with the PCs (promising to use his magic to aid the party in the Shadow World).
DM Reminder: The class of magician is unique to Cerilia. Magicians are specialists in the schools of illusion and divination but may learn spells from other schools. In those other schools, however, they are restricted to lesser magic only (1st and 2nd level spells). Consult the BIRTHRIGHT Rulebook, page 13, for details.

Parniel (unblooded halfling thief): AL N; AC 7; MV 6; T3; hp 15; THAC0 19; MT 1; Dmg by weapon type; SA backstab; SD halfling spell-like abilities (same as Kylo); D 17, C 15, Ch 15; ML 11; XP 120; PP 30%, OL 45%, F/RT 25%, MS 55%, HS 65%, DN 40%, CW 55%, RL 5%; short sword, sling, 10 sling bullets, dagger (concealed in boot).
Taerlyn believes that Parniel's thieving skills and knowledge of the Shadow World are necessary to complete her quest. The bearded halfling has served Taerlyn countless times in the past and regards her as a trustworthy employer deserving of his loyalty. Parniel's "fees" vary depending on the danger involved, but he expects to receive at least 500 gp for this excursion into the Shadow World.
Delvyn (unblooded dwarven fighter): AL NE; AC 7; MV 6; F2; hp 23; THAC0 19 (base); #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type +1 (Strength), +2 (specialization); S 16 (+0/+1), C 18, Ch 6; ML 9; XP 35; leather armor, battle axe, light crossbow, 5 bolts, short sword.
Ruornad's assessment of this MurKiladan dwarf is perceptive and accurate.
He regards the dwarf as a "close cousin of the varsk." (Varsks are lizards adapted to cold climates.) Taerlyn is more relenting because Delvyn has demonstrated exceptional fighting skill and has never betrayed het Unknown to Taerlyn, the dwarf is actually a spy sent by Razzik Fanggrabber, the goblin-queen of Markazor. At some future date, Delvyn's orders will be to kidnap Taerlyn and blackmail her father into turning his back on Mhoried?the realm he has sworn to protect. (This will occur at roughly the same time Markazor is prepared to invade Mhoried.) Until then, he bides his time and keeps the goblin-queen informed on Taerlyn's activities. If the PCs can find proof of Delvyn's treachery, Taerlyn may look upon them with much less antagonism. (Any future reaction checks are made at +2.)
Delvyn is awaiting the arrival of the Gorgon's henchmen, Skorn and Murkblade. He knows the half-ogres have orders to seize the tighmaevril weapon and return with it to the Gorgon's Crown. At the risk of jeopardizing his role as a spy, Delvyn attempts to thwart any attempt to remove the "tighmaevril" weapon prior to the half-ogres' arrival.
Kracklevorn (polymorphed goblin thief): INT average; AL LE; AC 7; MV 6 or 1, fly 36 (B) in crow form; T2; hp 6; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1 (peck) or by weapon type (goblin form only);
SA eye peck (10% chance of eye loss); D 17, Ch 7; ML 8; XP 15; dagger (usable in goblin form only). The DM should devise Kracklevorn's thieving skills if and when they become necessary; he cannot use them in his current form. Kracklevorn was polymorphed into a crow by his superiors. Like Delvyn, he is loyal to the goblin-queen of Markazor. However, the goblin tires of his current role (and Delvyn's companionship) and has become quite testy. Several of Taerlyn's mercenaries have come within inches of strangling the bird, and all are fed up with its ceaseless prattle. Kracklevorn speaks Karamhul (dwarven), Goblin, and Anuirean well.
Mercenaries (15 unblooded Anuirean fighters): AL N; AC 5 (6 without shield); MV 12; Fl; hp 10 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type; ML 12; XP 15; brigandine armor, wooden shield, heavy crossbow (with 2d6 bolts). Each mercenary wields one of the following melee weapons: footman's mace (33%), long sword (33%) or battle axe (33%).
The mercenaries do not enter the Shadow World. Their job is simply to escort Taerlyn and the other "name" NPCs to Highwall and stand guard in the ruins. They will not voluntarily enter the Shadow World, fearing what lies beyond.

New Monsters
When a scion perishes in the Shadow World near Mhelliviene, he becomes either a skelter or a zombire (50% chance of either) with no powers or special abilities beyond those listed below.
The skelter is an emaciated creature resembling a lich, with its leathery skin drawn tightly over its bony frame. The eyes of a skelter burn with an intense hatred for all life, and its voice is raspy and spiteful. These gaunt creatures have a chilling touch similar to that of a spectre. The attack inflicts 1d8 hp damage and drains one level of experience from the victim. (A save vs. death magic negates loss.) The energy drain is only temporary, and lost levels (and hit points) are restored at a rate of one level/day. A non-blooded individual slain by a skelter (or drained of all levels) rises as a zombie under the skelter's control; a blooded victim rises as a free-minded skelter.
Skelter: INT very; AL CE; AC 6; MV 12; HD 2+3; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8; SA energy drain (see above); SD silver or magical weapons needed to hit; immunc to cold, poison, paralysis and death magic; MR immune to sleep, charm, hold and fear-related magic; SZ M; ML 12; XP 650; New Monster. Skelters are turned as ghasts. One vial of holy water causes them 2d4 hp damage.
The zombire looks like a normal zombie without the sluggishness. Like the skelter, its eyes glow with intelligence and malice. It does not suffer penalties to initiative and is surprisingly agile. The zombire lacks the energy-draining touch of the skelter, but it can assume gaseous form at will. However, it cannot attack in this form and must revert to a corporeal state to inflict damage. (It cannot assume corporeal form and attack in the same round.) The zombire's rake causes 1d8 hp damage, and the victim must save vs. paralysis or be frozen in place and unable to act for 2d6 rounds. Zombires continue to attack frozen victims. A non-blooded individual slain by a zombire rises as a zombie under the zombire's control; a blooded victim rises as a free-minded zombire.
Zombire: INT high; AL CE; AC 7; MV 12; HD 3+2; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8; SA paralyzing touch; SD assume gaseous form, silver or magical weapons needed to hit; immune to cold, poison, paralysis and death magic; MR immune to sleep, charm, hold, and fear-related magic; SZ M; ML 14; XP 975; New Monster. Zombires are turned as wraiths. Holy water inflicts 2d4 hp damage/vial.
Skelters and zombircs can control mindless undead (i.e., skeletons and zombies) within 30 yards. When slain, skelters and zombires moulder into piles of flesh and bone.

Exploring the Ruins
The upper levels of the fortress are no longer accessible. However, PCs are free to explore what remains of the first level (see map). Taerlyn's mercenaries have already searched the level; they even encountered and killed a giant scorpion holed up in area 8, but not without losing one of their own (see area 2). Characters who climb or fly up to the higher levels discover that most of the interior chambers have collapsed or cannot be reached without extensive (and perilous) excavation.
1. Dark Portal.

Mounds of rubble, some piled higher than your head, are all that remain of the wall that once spanned the gorge. Among the rocks, you spot the odd bone, rusted sword, or fragment of armor. Little, however, can be salvaged from the debris.
Anyone with the shadow walk ability may enter the Shadow World during daylit hours (as may anyone touching the individual when the crossover is attempted). Such individuals are not obliged to use the fixed portal in this area; however, those who attempt to create a portal in some other area of the fortress must roll for success (see "The Ruins of Highwall" above). If the roll fails, another attempt cannot be made in that area or room.
The portal to the Shadow World is located by the 1 on the map. It looks like a jagged, impenetrably dark gap or vent in space. The "doorway" is roughly 6' x 3' and has virtually no "thickness."
Individuals stepping through this dark orifice are instantly transported to the Shadow World. For non-halflings, this portal is the only route back to Cerilia. Luckily, the portal is a permanent fixture in the Shadow World and may be used any time, day or night. Low-level PCs have no means to collapse or otherwise manipulate the portal, although a wand of negation causes it to shut down for 3d4 turns.
Crossing into the Shadow World is a surprisingly painless experience. PCs who walk through the portal are transported from the ruined Cerilian fortress to the perfectly intact (yet haunted) fortress detailed in the "Highwall in Shadows" section.
2. Grave. Here lies the grave of Pierden, a mercenary stung by the giant scorpion in area 8. Beneath a cairn of piled rocks and a 1' layer of dirt lies the corpse, still dressed in brigandine armor. The other mercenaries took Pierden's weapons and other possessions.
3. Abandoned Stables. Over the years, the stables have been used by Mhorien and Carielean trade caravans passing through Mhelliviene. PCs and other members of their retinue are free to keep their mounts penned here while they explore the Shadow World.
4. Blackened Fireplace. Formerly a kitchen, this room is bare save for a lone fireplace in the west wall. The hearth has been blackened by years of use. Travelers passing through Mhelliviene often slept here next to the fire.
5. Dusty Dining Hall. The remains of several wrecked tables and benches lie strewn upon the dusty floor. Once a mess hall for the guards, this room has long fallen into disuse.
6. Empty Barracks. Scattered upon the floor of this dusty chamber are bits of wood?the remains of several dozen broken cots. Most of the wood was burned by travelers relying on the warmth of the fireplace to survive cold winter nights.
7. Old Guard Post. A careful search of this room uncovers a silver dagger +1 hidden beneath a layer of debris in the corner. The dagger, Spirrlarach ("Deathfang"), absorbs 1d3 energy-draining attacks before vanishing back to the Negative Material plane; Taerlyn's mercenaries missed this item during their search of the ruins.
8. Giant Scorpion Lair. A dead giant scorpion lies in the middle of thisdust-choked room. The creature has been savagely bludgeoned and stabbed. The mercenaries were attacked by the scorpion when they entered area 7; the scorpion chased them outside, where it killed Pierden (see area 2). The monster was pressed back into its lair, where it met its eventual end; PC thieves may try to extract some of the scorpion's venom (Type F) for future use. There's enough poison remaining for six applications.
9. Dungeon. The far end of this corridor has completely collapsed, filling four cells with rubble and leaving seven others intact. Each cell is sealed by a sturdy wooden door set with a small, barred window. The doors are not locked, and PCs searching the cells find cobwebs and bones, and little else;
10. Collapsed Room. The ceiling in the southeast corner of this room has collapsed, creating a large rubble heap; A skeletal arm sticks out of the debris, and PCs who unpile the nearby rocks can unearth the skeleton of a human adventurer slain by the collapse. The skeleton wears tattered leather armor and has three gold teeth (worth 1 gp apiece). The southern door leads to a staircase buried under tons of rock andfallen debris. There is no way to reach the upper floors via these stairs.
The ceiling of the chamber is unsafe. Any loud noise has a 75% chance of triggering further collapse. Anyone inside the room when the ceiling falls must save vs. petrification or be struck by falling debris (4d6 hp damage) and buried under piles of rock; PCs not killed or rendered unconscious by the debris may dig themselves out in 2d6 rounds.
Highwall in Shadows
To locate the tighmaevril weapon, the PCs must explore the Shadow World fortress of Highwall. Unlike its Cerilian counterpart, this fortress remains intact. The interior is very dark, so the PCs need light sources.
The Shadow World's landscape is eerily similar to that of Cerilia, yet everything seems tainted by a dark, pervading gloom. The world looks dim, shadows take strange shapes, and the sun is nothing more than a dull silver orb surrounded by dark clouds. The Shadow World is populated by undead creatures that roam the land by day and night. The fortress itself is guarded by the undead remnants of Anuirean soldiers slain in Mhelliviene roughly 1,000 years ago. (See "The Shadow World" for details.)
Most of the travelers who passed through the shadow portal perished at the hands of High wall's undead garrison. Some of these travelers now patrol the fortress as zombies while others, dead for centuries, walk as skeletons. Most of the fortress' guards are minor undead, but there are far greater horrors lurking within Highwall. Unless otherwise noted, all humanoid skeletons and zombies have the following statistics:
Skeletons: INT non-; AL N; AC 7; MV 12; HO 1; hp 5 each; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6; SD edged and piercing weapons inflict half damage; MR immune to sleep, charm, hold, fear, poison, paralysis, death magic, and cold-based attacks; SZ M; ML 20; XP 65; MM/315.
Zombies: INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 6; HD 2; hp 10 each; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Ding id8; SD immune to sleep, charm, hold, fear, death magic, paralysis, poison, and cold-based attacks; SZ M; ML 20; XP 65; MM/373. Zombies always attack last in melee.
Key NPC Reactions
Taerlyn and her retinue have mixed reactions to Highwall's undead garrison. They are prepared for hostilities and fight mindless undead without deliberation (allowing PCs to lead the charge, if possible). However, Shaene uses his wraithform spell to protect himself against the tougher undead creatures, and Parniel the halfling returns to Cerilia the instant things get ugly. The intelligent undead encountered in Highwall?the skelters and zombires (see "New Monsters" sidebar for details)?are each vying for command of the fortress. If Taerlyn uncovers their power struggle, she promises military aid to those who guide her safely to the tighmaevril. For the most part, these undead creatures are not open to negotiations. They attack Taerlyn's band (and any PCs) out of sheer spite.
Taerlyn does not abandon her quest for the tighmaevril unless her retinue is decimated. For reasons detailed in the "Taerlyn & Company" section, Shaene Nagor prefers to stay in the Shadow World and offers his services to the PCs if they intend to remain. If Taerlyn is forced to leave and re-group, she returns in two weeks with a retinue twice as large.
Level One
1. Through the Portal.

A sudden, unpleasant chill ripples through your body as you step through the portal. For a brief moment, you hear the clash of swords and cries of battle, then nothing. On the other side, there are no ruins and no indications of life?only darkness. Drawing upon a light source, you find yourself standing in a stale, unlit chamber pressed between two pairs of gigantic stone doors. Every noise is amplified by the chamber's emptiness.
The portal is forever open in the Shadow World and continues to operate even if the Cerilian portal closes. Halflings familiar with the workings of the Shadow World can certify this fact.
The giant 20' x 10' doors that lead outside are too heavy to force or break open, although a knock spell opens them. The winches for the doors are located in area 19, directly above the chamber but hidden from view.
If the PCs find some way to open the outer doors, they may leave the fortress and explore the rest of the Shadow World. (From outside, PCs are afforded an unobstructed view of the fortress exterior.) If the party leaves Highwall, they are pursued by 2d6 skeletons astride skeletal horses (see area 3 for statistics). The skeletons emerge from the fortress 1d6 turns after the party. Characters who stray more than 20 yards from the fortress may also be spotted by the skeletons in the catapult towers (area 18).
2. Archers' Gauntlet. These enclosed corridors are known collectively as the archers' gauntlet?a deadly defense against invaders who manage to breach the outer doors. The walls in each corridor are perforated with arrow slits, seven per side. Both corridors are empty and unlit.
3. Skeletal Steeds. Confined to the stalls of this unlit stablehouse are the skeletal remains of 12 light warhorses. Although the undead horses are trapped in the stalls, they can bite anyone who gets too close. Taerlyn and her band have the good sense to keep their distance. The stalls contain pieces of rusted barding and little else.
Skeletal warhorses (12): INT non-; AL N; AC 7; MV 15; HD 3; hp 15 each; THAC0 17; #AT 2 or 1; Dmg 1d4/1d4(hooves) or 1d4 (bite); SD as skeleton; SZ L; ML 20; XP 175; MM/194 (horse, light war), MM/315 (skeleton, animal?modified).
4. Zombie Brew. Two wooden tables stand in the middle of this cluttered, cobweb-draped kitchen. The walls are lined with shelves and cooking implements, while fuming over a hot fire is a cauldron of foul-smelling soup. The brew contains old bones, bits of cloth, and other debris. Stoking the fire and watching the broth are three zombies. When someone enters the kitchen, the "cooks" turn to attack.
In addition to the zombies, PCs entering this chamber are attacked by seven animated rat skeletons hiding on the shelves.
Rat skeletons (7): INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 6; HD 1-1; hp 3 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4; SD as skeleton; SZ S; ML 20; XP 65; MM/315 (skeleton, animal).
5. Skeleton Ale. Inside this unlit room, 18 skeletons are "drinking" fouled ale from dented copper mugs, inadvertently dousing themselves with the putrid brine. The skeletons are seated on benches around two large tables. The tabletops are strewn with broken dishware, bones, and unlit candelabra. If intruders enter the chamber, the skeletons rise from their seats and attack with rusted weapons and clubs made of wood and bone. Combat in this chamber is 90% likely to attract the attention of the skeletons in area 6, which arrive the following round.
6. Light Sleepers. Four tapestries hang on the western wall of this firelit chamber. The tapestries (worth 100 gp each) depict bloody scenes of battle.
Twenty wooden cots have been pushed against the walls, and slumped in each cot is a skeleton wearing tattered chain mail. The 20 skeletons rise to attack the instant someone enters the room. Their swords lie beneath the cots. Their tattered armor does not improve their AC. If combat erupts in this chamber, the noise has a 25% chance/round of alerting the skeletons in area 5 (which arrive the following round).
7. Sign In or Sign Out. This chamber is furnished with a desk and chair. Hanging on the wall behind the desk is a shredded tapestry depicting the Anuirean coat-of-arms. The once-exquisite tapestry (worth 400 gp intact) can be repaired using mending spells. Seated behind the desk is an animated skeleton. When intruders enter the room, the skeleton dips an old quill pen into an empty ink jar, opens a dried-out ledger, and hands the pen to the nearest PC. The ledger records the names of all individuals or caravans that pass through Highwall; however, there are no names presently in the book, and the quill pen is dry. Unless the PCs pretend the sign the book, the skeleton attacks. The ensuing fight draws the attention of the zombire in area 8, which assumes gaseous form and arrives in one round.
8. Priestly Remains. This chamber contains four cots and a wooden table surrounded by four chairs. A footman's mace and a key ring (with keys to the cells in area 9) lie atop the table. Standing next to the door to area 9 is a zombire dressed in a tunic bearing the sword-and-lightning symbol of Cuiraecen (the Anuirean god of battle). Around her neck hangs a golden, disk-shaped holy symbol engraved with a lightning bolt (150 gp); The zombire is listening to tortured screams emanating from the dungeon. Her expression, like a jack-o'-lantern, is one of twisteddelight; When she spots intruders, the zombire attacks. If reduced to half hit points, she assumes gaseous form and hides in a crack in the ceiling. At the earliest opportunity, she re-forms and attacks the party from behind.
Maeve (zombire): hp 18; see "New Monsters" for full statistics. Maeve served as a healer in the doomed Anuirean army and perished with the soldiers over 1,000 years ago. Hateful and malevolent, Maeve now relishes any opportunity to inflict pain upon the living and the dead. Maeve hates the other zombires and skelters stationed at Highwall; She intends to seize control of the fortress once her rivals have destroyed one another (see areas 37, 42, and 44 for details).
9. Tormented Souls. Confined to the eastern row of cells are six heucuvae trapped by the zombire Maeve. The heucuvae can polymorph self up to three times/day and have assumed the forms of scrawny, undernourished humans (captured travelers) to dupe PCs into releasing them. If the PCs unlock the doors, the prisoners wait until all six are freed before assuming their true undead forms and attacking.
Heucuva (6): INT semi; AL CE; AC 3; MV 9; HD 2; hp 12 (x2), 11 (x2), 10, 9; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6; SA disease; SD silver or magical weapons to hit; polymorph self 3 times/day (humanoid form only); MR immune to mind-influencing spells; SZ M; ML 11; XP 270; MM/188;
10. Dusty Shield. Gloom pervades this dusty, cobweb-draped guard post. Lying on the floor beneath a layer of dust is a shield bearing the crest of Cuiraecen (a sword overlapping a lightning bolt, set against a crimson background). This non-magical shield once belonged to the priestess in area 8;
Level Two
11. A Real Mess Hall. Heaped near the fireplace are the remains of three tables. Several dozen chairs have been pushed against the walls, leaving a large open space in the middle of the room. Any loud noises here have a 3-in-6 chance of alerting the skeletons in area 13, which appear the following round.
12. Creepy Crawlies. This kitchen is draped in cobwebs and shrouded with dust. The walls are lined with shelves, and a large table stands in the middle of the floor. Clinging to the underside of the table are three large zombie spiders;
These slower versions of the living breed still have poisonous bites (not to mention a nasty drooling habit) but no web-spinning capability. All of them are missing legs and eyes?a dead giveaway to their true nature.
Zombie spiders (3): INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 3; HD 1+1; hp 7 each; THACO 19; #AT 1; Ding 1; SA poison (Type A, save at +2); SD as zombie; SZ S (2' diameter); ML 20; XP 120; MM/326 (spider, large?modified), MM/373 (zombie).
13. Barracks of the Bone-Men. This chamber is currently occupied by 35 skeletons equipped with short swords and dressed in tattered chain mail (no improvement to AC). They attack intruders on sight, pursuing them anywhere within the fortress. Positioned against the walls are 30 wooden cots. Hanging on the walls are seven banners depicting the crests of various Anuirean deities. These banners are in poor condition and are worth 10 gp each. Behind one of the banners is a secret door leading to area 14.
14. Secret Access. This secret room is empty save for an iron ladder secured to the northern wall. The ladder ends before an unlocked wooden trap door leading to area 17.

Level Three
15. Armor Fitting. This room is taken up by five tables, each covered with fragments of armor. From the pieces, an armorer can assemble 15 suits of chain mail, 10 suits of plate mail, and 6 suits of banded mail. The armor is dusty, and some of the pieces have rusted from disuse, but otherwise the fragments are intact.
16. Armor Storage. Hanging from iron hooks on the walls are several suits of armor (four suits of plate mail and five suits of chain mail) as well as 10 non-magical shields. All the shields bear the arms of the old Anuirean empire.
17. Secret Access. Set into the floor is a wooden trap door leading to area 14. This room is dusty and filled with cobwebs.
18. Within Boneshot. Highwall's greatest line of defense consists of eight identical catapult towers jutting from the sides of the fortress. Each platform is enclosed by a 3' high stone battlement and positioned in the middle of the platform is a catapult. Stacked in the corner behind each catapult is a pile of 1d4+4 shots (small, round boulders).
Guarding each catapult are four skeletons (32 total). If intruders are detected in the hallway connecting the platforms, the skeletons move in to attack. Likewise, if targets are spotted outside the fortress (within range of the catapults) the skeletons open fire. The catapults have been poorly maintained, and each catapult has a 25% chance of breaking when used. The range of each catapult is 60/180/540, although targets within 20 yards cannot be hit. Base THAC0 is 17, and each shot inflicts 2d8 hp damage (2d10 hp to large-sized targets). Loading a catapult normally requires three rounds, but the less-coordinated skeletons require five rounds.
19. Turning the Winch. Mounted on the west and east walls of this chamber are two large wooden wheels. Turning the wheels clockwise opens the great stone doors in area 1, while turning counter-clockwise closes and seals the doors. The wheels are connected to an elaborate chain and pulley system. A bend bars roll at +10% is needed to turn the wheel. (Up to three individuals may attempt to turn the wheel at once, in which case they may combine their bend bars percentages.) Any attempt to turn the winch attracts the attention of the skeletons in area 18, which attack the following round.
20. Skulking Shadows. This room contains three simple cots. Lurking in the darkness are three shadows?intruders that the skeletons and zombies have been unable to drive away. The shadows attack any living creatures they encounter.
Shadows (3): INT low; AL CE; AC 7; MV 12; HD 3+3; hp 17, 16, 11; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4+1; SA Strength drain; SD +1 or better weapons to hit; immune to sleep, charm, hold, and cold-based spells; SZ M; ML 16; XP 420; MM/312.
21. Guard Post. This area is furnished as area 20. However, this guard post is currently unoccupied.
22. Rotten to the Core. A foul stench pervades this dark chamber. Occupying the former barracks and dressed in pieces of tattered armor are 12 badly-decayed zombies and 15 skeletons. Lying on the floor are several dozen smashed cots, chairs, and tables. Three torn banners hang on the western wall?one bearing the arms of the old Anuirean empire, flanked by banners depicting bloody scenes of battle.
The banners are worthless. A staircase leads up to area 35.
23. Screaming Head. Two long tables occupy most of the floorspace, although a smaller table (reserved for officers) rests near the door to the kitchen. Surrounding the tables are dozens of chairs, while the tables themselves are cluttered with dirty and broken dishware. Hanging above the tables are three iron chandeliers suspended by chains. The blackened fireplaces along the north wall are unlit, and the floor is covered with patches of soot. Above the fireplaces hangs the mounted head of an orog chieftain. Two dusty tapestries depicting Highwall (worth 180 gp each) hang on the western wall.
Feasting on the scraps of food are nine giant zombie rats and 15 normal skeletal rats (see area 3 for statistics); The undead rats have a 1 in 4 chance per round of attacking any living thing in the room. Three rounds after intruders enter the room, the mounted orog's head animates and begins shouting orog death cries and war chants. The noise is loud enough to be annoying but not loud enough to disrupt spellcasting. The head is considered AC 10 with 9 hp for attack purposes; If reduced to 0 hp, the screaming orog's head "dies."
On the floor beneath the officers' table is a decorative gold medallion shaped like a pegasus (worth 125 gp).
Giant zombie rats (9): INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 3; HD 1-1; hp 4 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Ding 1d4; SD as zombie; SZ S (2' long); ML 20; XP 35; MM/300 (rat, giant?modified), MM/373 (zombie). Each rat is infested with 2d6 rot grubs (see MM/364 for statistics) which can attack only if the zombie rat is handled.
24. Kitchen. This cluttered kitchen is in complete disarray. Broken dishes and utensils lie scattered on the floor, and shelves are cluttered with dusty pots and overturned jars of foodstuffs. PCs searching the shelves find two labeled potions (invisibility and treasure finding). Anyone drinking the potion of treasure finding is drawn to area 48.
Level Four
25. Winch Room. Mounted on the north wall of this unfurnished guard post is the winch mechanism for the nearby portcullis (area 30). Turning thehandle clockwise raises the iron portcullis; releasing a latch on the winch drops the gate in one segment. Anyone tampering with the winch alerts the undead in areas 26 and 28, and they arrive the following round.
26. Undead Captain. This room's furnishings include a large padded bed positioned against the west wall between a heavy wooden trunk and a tall, slender wardrobe. Dusty animal furs cover the cold stone floor, and a tapestry depicting the Anuirean arms (worth 250 gp; weighs 40 lbs.) hangs on the eastern wall (concealing the secret door to area 27). Facing the south wall is a desk with matching chair, and standing next to the desk is a 4'-high leering gargoyle carved from blackstone (worth 100 gp; weighs 120 lbs).
Occupying this room is the Captain of the South Citadel?a skelter. The creature wears a suit of chain mail draped in cobwebs. Strapped to its side is a long sword +1 named Sentinel (no special abilities), but the skelter prefers to use its energy drain, Given the chance, the skelter opens the trunk next to the bed (see below) before attacking.
The large wooden trunk contains nine skeletal bats that flutter out when the lid is opened. The bats do not attack the skelter, nor do they follow Elamien's orders. They attack intruders until turned or destroyed. The trunk is otherwise empty. The skelter's desk and wardrobe are devoid of contents.
However, tucked under the desk is a locked wooden coffer containing 65 sp and a small silver key (to the desk in area 43).
Elamien (skelter): AC 5; hp 14; see page 18 for statistics. This skelter is the evil incarnation of a bold Anuirean officer who died in Mhelliviene nearly 1,000 years ago. Elamien is bitter over the defeat of the Anuirean army and blames General Anuvier (see area 44) for the massacre.
Elamien wants to destroy the zombire Anuvier and install himself as Highwall's new commander?a plan he's all too willing to share with the PCs as he rips them to pieces. If the PCs or NPCs offer assistance, Elamien agrees to spare their lives and surrender the tighmaevril weapon on the condition they destroy both Anuvier (area 44) and Draecus (area 35). However, the chaotic evil skelter has no intention of honoring his side of the agreement.
Skeletal bats (9): INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 6; HD 1-1; hp 4 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4; SD as skeleton; SZ S; ML 20; XP 65; MM/315 (skeleton, animal).
27. Roughly-hewn Passage. This tunnel ends some 60' above the floor of the mountain gorge. The climb down isdeceptively treacherous, as there are few stable handholds (climbing checks at ?15%). Debris covers the floor of the passageway, and clinging to the ceiling half way down the hall is an ochre jelly. The jelly has crawled into a narrow crack and is visible only to PCs searching for traps.
Ochre jelly: INT non-; AL N; AC 8; MV 3; HD 6; hp 19; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg 3d4; SA surprise (-3 to opponents' rolls); SD lightning divides jelly; SZ M (4' diameter); ML 10; XP 270; MM/278 (oozes/slimes/jellies).
28. Weapons. Two weapon racks stand in the middle of this dimly lit room. The first rack holds four long swords, nine broad swords, and 19 spears. The second rack holds 14 long bows and eight light crossbows. The weapons are in poor condition and break on a failed attack roll of 1 or 2 (d20). Against the north wall sit two unlocked wooden chests. Each chest contains 8d6 flight arrows and 5d6 light crossbow bolts.
29. Gatehouse Barracks. This chamber's furnishings include six wooden cots spaced along the walls and a locked wooden chest containing a gray cloak, a folded black banner sewnwith silver thread (depicts a silver skull; worth 75 gp) and a blackened silver brazier (worth 90 gp).
30. South Portcullis. The winch for this portcullis is located in area 25. Lifting the portcullis requires a successful lift gates roll. If two PCs try to life the gate, one roll should be made against their cumulative percentage. No more than two individuals may attempt to lift the gate at once.
31. Top of the Wall.

You find yourself standing atop the great wall, enclosed on both sides by a crumbling stone battlement. The view of Mhelliviene to the west and east is spectacular despite the dark sky and looming mountains. A stiff wind blows from the west, putrid as the breath of some great carnivore.
Although the wall itself is devoid of guardians, the PCs must concern themselves with the 10 skeletons stationed on the north balcony (area 38). These skeletal archers begin shooting bone arrows (Dmg 1d6) when anyone closes within 100' of the northern portcullis. The PCs and NPCs can spot the archers immediately, and a successful Intelligence check verifies that the archers are nocking arrows to attack. The skeletons have 75% cover behind the battlements, improving their AC to 0.
Shortly after the skeletons unleash their arrows, a gloomwing descends from the shadowy sky to attack any living creature on the wall. The gloomwing's natural camouflage makes it 50% undetectable in the Shadow World's dark twilight. Its initial swoop attack is +2 to hit. On the second and each successive round of combat, the moth emits a potent pheromone which causes weakness in a 25' radius (see below).
Gloomwing: INT animal; AL N; AC 1; MV 2, fly 18 (D); HD 5+1; hp 32; THAC0 15; #AT 3; Dmg 1d3/1d3/1d8; SA pheromone (lose 1 point of Strength/ round; victim falls unconscious at 0 Strength); SD confusion; SZ M (8' wingspan); ML 8; XP 1,400; MM/157.
32. North Portcullis. This portcullis is identical to the one in area 30, except that the winch is located in area 33. Unless they have some other way of reaching area 33, the PCs must lift this gate to enter the north citadel. Just beyond the portcullis is a 15'-long hall with two arrow slits in each wall. Any intruder walking between the arrow slits is attacked by the skeletal archers in areas 33 and 34.
33. Winch Room. Occupying this room are two skeletons armed with short bows and short swords. Slung over their bony shoulders is a quiver of 2d6 flight arrows. The skeletons use their bows to shoot intruders through the arrow slits. Set into the southern wall is a wooden winch mechanism for the portcullis is area 32. The winch operates just as does the one in area 25.
34. Skeletal Sentries. Two skeletons (see area 33 for equipment) stand guard in this room. Near the flight of stairs sits an unlocked wooden chest containing 5d6 flight arrows.
35. Helter Skelter. This room is occupied by the Captain of the North Citadel, a skelter dressed in a bloodstained suit of banded mail. The skelter's full helm hides everything except its glowing red eyes, which burn with malevolence. The skelter is accompanied by four zombies wearing chain mail (AC 5). With its cold, raspy voice, it orders the zombies to attack intruders on sight. The skelter despises the living and cannot be assuaged; The sound of combat alerts the undead in area 22, which arrive in 1d4 rounds. The skelter's room is furnished with a large stuffed bed, a padded armchair(torn), two torn tapestries on the west and south walls (depicting the battle between the Anuireans and Sidhelien in Mhelliviene; worth 650 gp if mended), and a wooden chest (unlocked) containing a scroll of protection from cold hidden under 329 cp and 112 sp.
Draecus (skelter): AC 4; hp 15; see page 18 for full statistics. This evil undead creature is all that remains of a former Anuirean army officer. Despite the crushing defeat of the Anuirean army, Draecus remains loyal to General Anuvier (see area 44), opposing his skelter rival Elamien (area 26) at every opportunity.
36. Armed Guardians. The walls of this 60' x 50' chamber are lined with worn and worthless tapestries depicting the Battle of Mount Deismaar and the destruction of the old gods.
Dividing up the chamber are several rows of wooden cots. The floor is strewn with weapons (axes, daggers, and spears) and bones. Hidden among the inanimate bones are four dreads (animated pairs of skeletal arms). If the doors to area 37 are touched or the secret door leading to the eastern staircase is opened, the dreads rise from the floor and attack with spears (using both hands).
Dreads (4): INT non-; AL N; AC 6; MV 6, fly 15 (B); HD 3+3; hp 21, 18, 15, 15; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4 or by weapon (1d6 with spear); SD immune to charm, hold, sleep, shatter, disintegrate and polymorph spells; impervious to cold; edged/piercing weapons inflict half damage; regenerate 2 hp/day; SZ S; ML 20; XP 975; MONSTROUS COMPENDIUM® Annual, Volume 1. In the Shadow World, dreads are turned as wraiths and suffer 2d4 hp damage from one vial of holy water.
37. Transformed Temple. The doors to this chamber are slender and made of beaten bronze. The doors may be opened easily.

Inside the chamber, opposite the double doors, stands a statue of a skull-faced warrior, seven feet tall, clutching a black shield. The statue is flanked by two tapestries depicting robed skeletons astride black warhorses. Larger tapestries hang from the north and south walls, these depicting legions of undead soldiers. The chamber itself feels colder than the other areas of the fortress.
PCs who spend more than one round in this chamber are attacked by a zom that has assumed gaseous form and hidden itself behind the black shield. At the earliest moment, it seeps forth and reverts to its corporeal form. If reduced to 9 or fewer hp, the zombire reverts to gaseous form and retreats to area 35.
Ruinil (zombire): hp 19; see page 26 for full statistics. Accused of bewitching an Anuirean regent, the wizard Ruinil fled to the Shadow World to escape persecution. He tried to seize control of the fortress, lost a battle with Anuvier (see area 4.4), and was transformed into a free-minded zombire. Deprived of his Iife and spells, Ruinil resents Anuvier but now gives the former Anuirean general a wide berth.
Ruinil is secretly allied with the wizard-turned-skelter Jadrele (area 42) in a scheme to overthrow Anuvier and seize control of Highwall. If the PCs manage to open a dialogue with Ruinil, they may offer assistance in exchange for safe removal of the tighmaevril weapon. Ruinil knows where the spear is stored (area 49) but he only escorts the PCs and NPCs to Jadrele's chamber.
The Shadow World's version of the temple and the statue are drastically different from those in the ruined Cerilian fortress. In the Cerilian fortress of Highwall, this temple is intact (albeit buried behind mounds of fallen rock) and dedicated to Haelyn, the Anuirean god of noble war; the statue is crafted in his likeness. The tapestries in the Cerilian temple depict Haelyn and his half-brother Roele fighting at the Battle of Mount Deismaar and their victory over the forces of Azrai. The statue's shield depicts Haelyn's symbol: a sword and sunburst set against a red background. However, in the Shadow World, the tapestries depict images of Death and legions of skeletal soldiers cutting down the forces of humanity. Instead of Haelyn, the statue resembles a skeletal knight clutching a black shield.
Halflings and individuals with the shadow walk ability who "phase" back to the Cerilian fortress from this room materialize inside the "real temple" (the one dedicated to Haelyn) and can view its alternate decor. Returning to the Shadow World is the only way to leave Haelyn's temple, however, since the surrounding rooms in the Cerilian fortress have collapsed and blocked the only exit.
The skeletal knight's black shield has a glyph of warding cast on it. Any living person who touches the shield must save vs. spell or lose one energy level permanently. The glyph can be triggered only once.
Level Five
38. Bones and Arrows. This balcony is surrounded by a 4' high stone battlement. Standing on the balcony, overlooking area 31, are 10 skeletons armed with short bows and short swords. Slung over their bony shoulderblades are quivers containing 2d6 bone arrows apiece (Dmg 1d6). The skeletons can shoot one arrow/round and use their bows to attack intruders on the fortress wall; in melee combat, they use their swords and fight relentlessly. Any combat atop this platform alerts the undead in areas 39 and 40, which emerge from the guard towers the following round.
39. Eastern Guard Tower. The roof of this tower reaches its apex 30' above the floor. An unlit lantern hangs from one of the ceiling rafters. Standing guard in this room are four skeletons armed with spears. They attack any living creature they encounter.
40. Western Guard Tower. This chamber is similar in all respects to area 39. Four skeletons stand guard here. They are armed with spears.
41. Magic Glyph. This 10' x 10' section of hallway is trapped by a glyph of warding. The glyph is triggered by living creatures; undead may traverse the area safely. The glyph inflicts 5d4 hp cold damage to anyone within a 5' radius (save for half damage). The protection from cold scroll in area 35 may be useful in reducing or negating damage.
42. Remnants.

Standing in the middle of this dusty chamber are three humanoid figures. Two of them stand nearly nine feet tall. To your horror and disgust, you see bones protruding from their rotten flesh. A hunched figure stands between them. The creature is dressed in a tattered wizard's robe and has eyes that glow like burning embers.
The chamber's furnishings are shrouded in cobwebs. A bed rests against the north wall, a tall wardrobe stands against the west wall, and a desk has been pushed against the south wall beneath two cluttered shelves.
The desk and wardrobe are empty. The shelves hold little of value aside from some skulls and jars of dust (former spell components). If the PCs are having difficulty completing the adventure, the DM may place a potion of undead control here. The potion controls up to 16 HD of skeletons or zombies;
The three undead are a skelter and two monster zombies. The skelter is all that's left of an Anuirean army sorceress who died in Mhelliviene centuries ago. Jadrele wields a wand of magic missiles (57 charges) and uses it without reservation; The zombies are all that remain of two ogres who dared to walk through the shadow portal in area 1.
Jadrele has pledged her "undying allegiance" to the zombire Anuvier (see area 44) while maintaining a secret alliance with Anuvier's rival, Ruinil (area 37). Unless the PCs are accompanied by Ruinil, Jadrele assumes they were sent by one of her rivals (probably Anuvier). In this case, she orders the ogre zombies to attack, while employing her magical wand; Otherwise, she is willing to communicate with strangers.
Jadrele (skater): hp 17; see page 18 for full statistics. Jadrele secretly aspires to overthrow the zombire Anuvier and seize control of the fortress. First she must eliminate the citadel commanders, Elamien (area 26) and Draecus (area 35). Then, with Ruinil's help (area 37), she plans to dispatch Anuvier, Maeve (area 8), and the wraith in area 46. If the PCs or NPCs are willing to assist, she spares their lives until she takes control of Highwall.
Ogre zombies (2): INT non-; AL N; AC 6; MV 9; HD 6; hp 30 each; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg 4d4; SD as zombie; SZ L (9' tall); ML 20; XP 650; MM/373 (zombie, monster). These mindless creatures are turned as ghasts.
43. Sinister Sheets. Hovering over the door inside this room is a sheet phantom. The phantom resembles a pale white curtain comprised of thin, resilient fibers. On the first round, it envelopes its victim (attack roll neces-sari, but no damage inflicted). On subsequent rounds, the victim suffers 1d4 hp damage/round. Any damage inflicted upon the phantom at this time is also suffered by the victim. The creature can be pulled off the victim with a successful bend bars roll However, the victim cannot wound the creature unless he has a sharp, small-sized weapon already in hand. If the sheet phantom kills its victim, the two merge to become a sheet ghoul.

The room is dark and dusty. A large, cobweb-covered bed stands against the east wall, across from the fireplace. In the north end of the room, facing south, stands a desk. Behind it, a rotting corpse lies slumped in a tall, ebony chair. Hanging on the northernmost wall behind the chair is a shield (depicting a flaming sword) crossed by two spears.
This room once belonged to the castellan?the highest-ranking officer of Highwall. The "cobwebs" on the bed are actually two more sheet phantoms, and PCs watching the cobwebs closely have a 5% chance per point of Intelligence of discerning them. The phantoms attack anyone approaching within 5' of the bed (-5 to opponents' surprise rolls if the sheets are not detected).
The corpse slumped behind the desk is a normal zombie. It animates the instant someone touches the shield or spears on the north wall. The shield and spears are non-magical. The zombie's desk is locked (key in area 26) and contains bottles of dried ink, brittle pieces of paper, and the castellan's seal (handle shaped like a golden lion; worth 75 gp). Under the seal is a scrap of paper with words scrawled on it. The words are written in Karamhul (dwarvish) and translate to: "To the left of the throne lies Brichlur." The message provides a cryptic clue to the resting place of Brichlur, a spear presumably crafted from bloodsilver. The spear was hidden centuries ago in area 49.
Sheet phantoms (3): INT average; AL CE; AC 3; MV 6, fly 6 (C); HD 3; hp 15, 13, 10; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4; SA suffocation; SD immune to sleep, charm and other mind-affecting attacks; turned as wraiths; SZ M (8' x 11'); ML 13; XP 270; MC14.
Sheet ghoul: INT average; AL CE; AC 2; MV 9; HD 4+2; hp 20; THAC0 17; #AT 3; Dmg 1d3/1d3/1d6; SA spit acid (10' range; 1d8+1 hp damage; save vs. breath weapon for half damage); SD as sheet phantom; turned as spectre; SZ M; ML 14; XP 650; MC14.
44. Anuvier's Curse.

This high, vaulted chamber is unfurnished save for a heavy wooden throne placed atop a rectangular dais of dark, polished stone. The throne is carved to resemble a rearing lion with its mouth frozen in a roar. Seated on the throne, veiled in shadows, is an undead soldier dressed in bloodied plate mail. His chilling gaze and sneer clearly indicate you are unwelcome.
The thing seated on the throne is a zombire?the evil remnants of Anuvier, the bold Anuirean general who led his army into the ambush at Mhelliviene. Now he must live" forever with that disgrace. The Shadow World has preserved his rotting state so that, in many ways, he resembles the man he once was. His hatred of elves supercedes his disdain for life in general, and the sight of an elf drives him berserk. Otherwise, the zombire remains seated in the throne until someone dares attack him or step onto his platform. With a gargled shout, the zombire can call upon reinforcements from areas 45 and 46. Anuvier can also use his armor's fear ability to scare away his enemies. If reduced to half hit points, the zombire assumes gaseous form and waits for a better opportunity to strike.
The zombire is willing to speak with intruders, but after 1d4+4 rounds he tires of their company and orders his minions to attack. His voice is deep and ugly, and his jaw almost sinks to his chest when he speaks. He knows what bloodsilver is, and he thinks he has a genuine tighmaevril weapon in his treasure hoard, but he's unwilling to reveal where the weapon (or the other treasure) is hidden. The only thing Anuvier wants is life?he is tired of this undead state. He knows his wish is unattainable, however, and he despises every living person who stands before him. The cruel irony is that Brichlur, the spear he is guarding, has the ability to raise dead. Unfortunately, Anuvier has been dead too long to benefit from the spear's power.
Anuvier has absolute command over the mindless undead in Highwall. However, he is threatened by several skelters and zombires under his charge. Anuvier pits his servants against oneanother, hoping their petty rivalries will keep them distracted. However, the skelters Elamien and Jadrele (see areas 26 and 42) are particular threats which Anuvier would like eliminated. The zombire Maeve (area 8) has detached herself from the others, and Anuvier regards her as a nuisance more than anything. If the PCs agree to destroy his rivals, Anuvier promises to let the PCs choose a reward from treasure contained in the secret vaults. However, Anuvier is chaotic evil and will not honor this agreement.
The secret doors leading to the vaults (areas 47-49) can be detected normally. All three doors are unlocked and easily pushed open. However, the doors have springed hinges and close automatically unless held or wedged open.
Anuvier (zombire): AC 2; hp 25; see page 18 for full statistics. Anuvier wears Doomshell, a suit of plate mail of fear +1 (two fear charges remaining). The Shadow World has corrupted the armor so that anyone donning it suffers an alignment change to chaotic evil (no save). A remove curse spell restores alignment to normal, but only if the armor is removed first. Anuvier fights with his claws and carries no weapon.
45. Shades of Peril. The only furnishings in this unlit room are five wooden cots that have been pushed against the walls to make room for 14 skeletons, six zombies, and two shadows. The shadows have no control over the mindless undead; however, they are allied with the zombire Anuvier.
Shadows (2): INT low; AL CE; AC 7; MV 12; HD 3+3; hp 18, 13; THACO 17; #AT 1; Ding 1d4+1; SA Strength drain; SD +1 or better weapons to hit; immune to ''sleep, charm, hold', and cold-based spells; SZ M; ML 16; XP 420; MM/312.
46. Servants of Doom. This chamber is similar to area 45, except there are 12 skeletons, seven zombies, and one wraith present. The wraith is an agent sent by the sinister forces that govern the Shadow World. Its job is to ensure the loyalty and misery of the other intelligent undead creatures lurking in Highwall. If the PCs destroy the zombire and its minions, the wraith departs and lures other undead to the party's location, continuing to do so until the PCs or all the undead in the fortress (including itself) are destroyed.
Wraith: INT very ; AL LE; AC 4; MV 12, fly 24 (B); HD 5+3; hp 23; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6; SA energy drain; SD silver or magical weapons needed to hit; immune to poison, paralysis, death magic and cold-based attacks; MR immune to sleep, charm, fear, and hold spells; SZ M; ML 15; XP 2,000; MM1365.
47. Emptiness. A layer of dust covers the floor of this otherwise empty vault.
48. Ancient Hoard. This dust-shrouded chamber contains three large wooden chests (5' x 2' x 2'), all placed against the northern wall. The chests were brought here centuries ago by dwarven renegades. (See "For the Dungeon Master" for details.) All three chests have circular iron rings bolted to their fronts and backs, and six 7'-long wooden poles can be seen leaning in the southeast corner. Sliding the poles through the iron rings enables the PCs to lift and transport the chests. Guarding the chests is a helmed horror?an animated suit of plate armor built by the dwarven renegades to guard their treasure. The horror stands in front of the chests, attacking anyone who enters the chamber and defending itself if necessary. The horror can see invisible creatures within 120' and possesses infravision (120' range); It heals lost hit points at the same rate as a resting human and is held upright through levitation;
Helmed horror: INT high; AL N; AC 2; MV 12, fly 12 (E); HD 4+8; hp 35; THAC0 12; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4 or by weapon (1d6+1 with hammer); SD healed by magic missiles (excess hit points are injuriously reflected back at the caster); immune to mind-affecting attacks; SZ M (6' tall); ML 20; XP 2,000; MONSTROUS COMPENDIUM Annual, Volume 1; large warhammer (Dmg 1d6+1/1d8+1; speed factor 8).
If he is present, the magician Shaene Nagor casts his detect magic on the helmed horror and the chests. The horror radiates magic, as do the contents of chest #1. The wily magician steers others towards chests #2 and #3 while he investigates chest #1 for himself!
Chest #1 is unlocked and contains three shelves, or levels. The first shelf holds 600 sp (ancient dwarven mint). The second shelf holds 500 gp of similar mint; The third shelf holds 45 gems (17 x 10 gp, 13 x 50 gp, 10x 100 gp, 4 x 500 gp and 1 x 1,000 gp), a gem of brightness' (6 charges), and a wand of negation'' (3 charges; command word "zarawn").
Chest #2 is jammed shut and requires a bend bars roll at +10% to open; (A solid blow from a blunt weapon will unjam the chest automatically.) Piled inside are 8,000 cp and 4,500 sp. Hidden beneath a false bottom are 70 gold hammer-shaped ingots (worth 10 gp each), a bag containing 12 assorted pieces of dwarven-made jewelry (2 x 50 gp, 3 x 100 gp and 7 x 500 gp), 25 quartz rods (20 gp each) and a hollow axe handle (plugged) filled with 18 small diamonds (500 gp each).
Chest #3 is sealed shut with melted silver. The silver (worth 10 gp) can be pried away easily. Inside the chest are 30 gold bars (100 gp each), eight gold medallions shaped like crossed hammers (250 gp each), a golden headband studded with garnets and chips of chrysoprase (2,000 gp) and a golden hammer-shaped scepter inlaid with emeralds (total value 10,000 gp).
The total monetary value of all three chests (excluding the magical items in chest #1) is 36,820 gp. Four strong men are required to lift each chest, assuming none of its contents are removed. A regent capable of transporting this trove safely back to his domain can convert the hoard into gold bars for his treasury (minus anything taken by henchmen, hirelings and greedy NPCs). Recall that 1 GB is equivalent to 2,000 gp.
49. No Blood in Silver. Within this chamber lies the magical spear Brichlur (or "Bloodspear"). The weapon's shaft and tip are composed of a silvery metal which catches the light. The elven-made spear was brought to Highwall by a clan of dwarven renegades fleeing Thak Mor Kadan. See "For the Dungeon Master" for details.
The spear hovers upright in the middle of the chamber, held aloft by a ring of levitation incorporated into the weapon's shaft. This silver band cannot be removed from the spear, but the spear's holder may use the ring's power to levitate at will (as per the wizard's spell). The spear also has a ring of water breathing and a ring of protection +1 molded into it, and the owner benefits from these magical items as well. Brichlur is a spear +3. By touch, the spear can also perform the following magic, cast at 15th level: raise dead (1/month), cure serious wounds (1/week) and cure disease (1/week).
No one in Taerlyn's band has the ability to discern true tighmaevril. Neither Taerlyn nor her henchmen have ever seen bloodsilver, although clearly the spear is exceptional. Eldred and Kylo are likewise unfamiliar with tighmaevril and automatically assume the spear is made of bloodsilver.
Although the spear is not composed of tighmaevril, it is a powerful weapon nonetheless. Yet despite its potent magical abilities, the weapon is of little interest to the Gorgon or his henchmen (see "The Sons of Sora" below). The Gorgon seeks only tighmaevril weapons, and the half-ogres Skorn and Murkblade will not trouble themselves over a spear made of something other than bloodsilver. Although they are initially duped by its striking similarity to other tighmaevril weapons (like those in their master's collection), the half-ogres' locate bloodsilver ability confirms the spear is not made of tighmaevril.
The half-ogres may not have any interest in Brichlur or its limited" powers, but Taerlyn and Ruornad will cer-tainly claim the weapon if given the chance. Both are proficient with the spear, and they are prepared to fight others for custody of Brichlur. However, they do not invite conflict with an obviously superior foe; if necessary, they bide their time and attempt to seize the weapon while the PCs are distracted. Parniel, Taerlyn's halfling henchman, may try to seize the spear and shift back to Cerilia, removing Brichlur from the Shadow World and hiding it until Taerlyn returns. Kylo the halfling also desires the spear, although he doesn't have the ability to take it from a well-armed party. If he learns that the spear is not composed of bloodsilver, Kylo nevertheless considers it a fine prize; however, he is quickly distracted by the gems in area 48, which are also valuable and much easier to carry!
Assuming the spear isn't immediately regarded as a fake, Delvyn the dwarf tries to detain the party until Skorn and Murkblade arrive. Delvyn seizes Kylo, holding his short sword to the halfling's throat. (For plot purposes, the DM may consider this an automatic success. Otherwise, a normal attack roll is required.) Delvyn kills time negotiating for the release of the hostage, making outrageous demands while waiting for the half-ogres to arrive.
The Sons of Sora
Skorn and Murkblade are members of a secret infantry unit quietly being assembled by the Gorgon. Over the last 200 years, the evil awnshegh has brought human females captives into the Gorgon's Crown and bred them with ogres who live in the mountains. The Gorgon intends to create a company of half-ogres endowed with the size and brutality of their fathers and the intelligence and wisdom of their human mothers. Although this company is decades away from coalescing, the half-ogres bred so far have proven both loyal and effective. Skorn and Murkblade are unusually powerful specimens. Their mother, Sora, was a scion of Azrai. Sora died during childbirth, but her twin sons survived and inherited the evil deity's divine essence. Their sole purpose is to retrieve tighmaevril weapons for the Gorgon's collection. The journey to Highwall is their first excursion beyond the confines of the Gorgon's Crown. It is also their last, should they fail to retrieve what they set out for.
As the PCs explore the fortress, Skorn and Murkblade arrive at Highwall and prepare to enter the Shadow World. The half-ogres need not arrive during the night, as both are equipped with magical shadowsticks. These black rods were created by the Gorgon's agents and are infused with negative energy. When the shadowsticks are brought to the ruins (area 1), the portal into the Shadow World opens for 1d3 rounds (regardless of the time of day), allowing the half-ogres to enter. The rods can be used only once, dissolving into nothingness once their power is invoked.
Before entering the Shadow World, Skorn and Murkblade search the ruins for stray party members, guards, or tethered mounts. They slay anyone they encounter and scare away all of the party's horses. Once in the Shadow World, the half-ogres begin their tireless search for the tighmaevril weapon, guided by their locate bloodsilver ability. (Since the tighmaevril weapon doesn't really exist, the half-ogres become increasingly discouraged by their inability to track it down.) As scions of Azrai, both half-ogres have the ability to assume shadow form. Similar to the wizard's wraithform spell, this blood ability enables them to circumvent Highwall's undead guardians. It also makes the half-ogres impervious to non-magical weapons. However, they can attack only in corporeal form.
The DM should time the climactic encounter with the half-ogres so that it occurs in the throneroom (area 44) or atop the great wall (area 31) after the PCs have had a chance to explore the secret vaults (areas 47-49) and locate the magical spear, Brichlur. The half-ogres try to outflank the party before assuming their corporeal forms. They are far from congenial, demanding outright that the PCs surrender the tighmaevril weapon or "Face the pain!"
If the PCs show them the spear, the half-ogres sniff the air then curl their lips in anger and disgust. Once they realize that the spear is "fake" (and that there are no other tighmaevril weapons in the vicinity), the half-ogres become furious and attack the party in frustration. Skorn wields Skullcutter, monstrous battle axe engraved with death runes and tipped with a vicious black spike. Murkblade wields a huge two-handed sword of blackened steel named Bloodfang. Both weapons are speed factor 10 and non-magical.
Skorn and Murkblade are among the Gorgon's more powerful henchmen, and a lone party of low-level adventurers will be hard-pressed to defeat them. The pair can be outsmarted, however. For instance, the PCs might claim that-the spear is indeed made of bloodsilver, but that ancient magic prevents the half-ogres from sensing it. If the half-ogres buy into this and return with the "bloodsilver" spear in hand, the Gorgon kills them for their idiocy! The half-ogres are entitled to an Intelligence check vs. any ploy devised by the PCs, though the DM may apply modifiers to this roll. Delvyn the dwarf tries to thwart any attempt to deceive the half-ogres. He also sides with the half-ogres if the battle tilts in their favor. Neither Skorn nor Murkblade hold the dwarf in much regard and attack Delvyn if he gets in the way.
With the help of Taerlyn, Eldred, and their combined NPC retinues, the PCs might defeat or repel the half-ogres. Under no circumstances does the proud Taerlyn ally herself with emissaries of the Gorgon. However, if Aderack and his brigands are present, they jump to the half-ogres' side rather than face the Gorgon's wrath. If either half-ogre dies or both are reduced to half hit points, they assume shadow form and retreat. Likewise, if the PCs make themselves elusive targets, the half-ogres eventually tire of chasing them and return to Cerilia. Depending on their mood and the amount of damage they've sustained, the half-ogres leave the Shadow World and either wait in ambush outside the ruins or return to the Gorgon to face the consequences of their failure.
The DM can make the half-ogres even more threatening to the PCs and their well-armed henchmen by adding a small army of goblins and dwarves to their roster. These humanoids accompany the half-ogres to Highwall and remain in the ruins until the brothers return from the Shadow World. The goblins and dwarves rout Taerlyn's mercenaries and attack anyone who returns from the Shadow World (see "Leaving the Shadow World"). The first wave consists of 30 goblins (light infantry). The second wave consists of the 12 dwarven shock troops and the remaining 15 goblins (archers). Skorn and Murkblade regard these troops as expendable, using them to cover their escape if necessary.
Skorn and Murkblade (blooded half-ogre fighters): AL LE; AC 2; MV 9; F8; hp 81, 77; THAC0 13 (10 with strength); #AT 3/2 (weapon) or 1 (fist); Dmg by weapon type +6 (Strength) or 1d6+6 (spiked fist); S 18/00 (+31+6), D 10, C 18,1 9, W 10, Ch 4; SZ L (8' tall); ML 16; XP 3,000; spiked plate armor (+4 to saves vs. acid-based attacks), spiked gauntlets and helmet, shadowstick (see above; good-aligned creatures touching rod suffer 1d8 hp cold damage), Skullcutter (two-handed battle axe; Dmg 1d10+6/2d8+6) or Blood-fang (two-handed sword; Dmg 1d10+6/3d6+6). The half-ogres' bloodline (minor, strength: 29) derives from Azrai.
Blood abilities: shadow form (see BIRTHRIGHT Rulebook, page 28, for details), locate bloodsilver (range 120 yards; see 'New Blood Abilities" sidebar).
Mur-Kiladan dwarves (12): INT very; AL NE; AC 4 (3 with weapon specialization); MV 9; F2; hp 16 each; THAC0 18; #AT 2; Dmg by weapon +1 (strength); S 17 (+11+1); SZ M; ML 12; XP 65; MM/191; splint mail, shield, battle axe, footman's pick.
Markaz goblins (30 infantry, 15 archers): INT average; AL LE; AC 5 (6 without shield); MV 6; HD 1-1; hp 5 each; THAC0 20; AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (weapon); SZ S (4' tall); ML 10 (13 if Skorn and/or Murkblade is present); XP 15 (35 for archers); MM/163; hide armor, short sword, short bow with 2d6 flight arrows (archers only), wooden shield.
Leaving the Shadow World
Once Skorn and Murkblade are defeated or driven away, the PCs are free to return to Cerilia. To leave the Shadow World, non-halflings must return to the point of their arrival (area 1). Those with the shadow walk ability (and anyone in direct contact with them) may return to Cerilia from anywhere inside the fortress; those without the shadow walk ability must return to area 1.
The journey back is less eventful, although Vrachspir may still be lurking at the mouth of Mhelliviene, waiting to attack the PCs as they head for the woods (assuming the wyvern wasn'tslain or driven off by the half-ogres). If Taerlyn is alive, she returns to her father's tower in Mhoried and informs him of her success or failure. Regien is not discouraged when he learns that the rumors of tighmaevril were false, nor does he harbor resentment toward the PCs for opposing his daughter. However, if the PCs harmed Taerlyn, Regien learns of this (via his crystal ball) and make arrangements to have the PCs and their accomplices arrested. He sends his loyal lieutenant, Captain Jael, to intercept the PCs before they leave Mhoried's borders. If the PCs manage to flee Mhoried, Regien pursues action with the Mhor (only in the event Taerlyn was brutalized or killed).
Captain Llewellyn Jael (unblooded Anuirean fighter): AL CG; AC 3; MV 12; F5; hp 41; THAC0 16 (base); #AT 3/2 or I; Dmg by weapon type +1 (Strength), +2 (specialization); S 17 (+1/+1), D 12, C 13, I 10, W 12, Ch 15; ML 16; plate mail, footman's mace (specialized), short sword.
Mhorien soldiers (20): INT average; AC 4; AL CG; MV 12; Fl; hp 10 each; THAC0 20 (base); #AT 1; Ding by weapon type +1 (Strength); ML 14; XP 35; chain mail, shield, long sword, heavy crossbow, 2d6 bolts, dagger.
Assuming the PCs have not betrayed him, Eldred leads them back to their domain. If battle erupts between the PCs and the Mhorien soldiers, Eldred tries to diffuse the situation by accepting responsibility (and punishment) for the PCs' actions. This brave act does little to affect the turn of events, however. Killing the daughter of the Mhor's advisor is punishable by death. Even if Taerlyn's true killer eludes capture, word of the murder spreads across Anuire. Taerlyn's betrothed (a young nobleman named Gaelin) may even hire assassins to avenge her death, perhaps precipitating a full-blown wan
Concluding the Adventure
If Taerlyn was killed or critically injured by the PCs, Regien presses the Mhor to take action. If Taerlyn's killers refuse to return to Mhoried to face criminal indictment, the Mhor may break off all diplomatic ties to the PC regent's domain. He may even call up a few favors from other powerful regents, turning them against the PCs until "justice is rightfully served. Taerlyn pursues private vengeance if her devoted Ruornad was slain by the party, perhaps using her father's resources to strike back at the PCs. A PC regent accused of murder may lose respect in his own domain, the effects of which are left up to the DM.
Although their search for a tighmaevril weapon proves futile, PCs who survive the perils of Highwall will doubtless acquire a fair amount of treasure (and possibly a few magical items). Assuming the PCs are not driven out of Mhoried by Regien, the PCs may request an escort to the border of Mhoried. For a small donation to the Mhor's treasury (1/2 GB or 1,000 gp), Mhorien soldiers gladly oblige. Upon returning home, the PC regent may add the remaining haul to his own treasury, converting it all into gold bars.
If Eldred survives the adventure, he may prove beneficial in future dealings with Mhoried (assuming the PCs and the Mhor remain on good terms). Eldred has many ties to Mhoried. If the PC regent maintains steady diplomatic relations, a future alliance may be possible. Diplomatic efforts may be thwarted by sinister forces that do not wish to see Mhoried become stronger than it already is. (The Barony of Ghoere feels particularly threatened by the Mhor's growing strength and popularity.)
As he becomes more respected and influential, Eldred could become a detriment to the PC regent. He may someday rise to the status of a "great captain" (as described on page 43 of the BIRTHRIGHT rulebook). The inhabitants of the PC's domain might be swayed into placing their trust in Eldred rather than the regent, thus neutralizing one of the regent's holdings or provinces (which becomes loyal to Eldred instead). Of course, any attempt to contest or remove Eldred may trigger serious political repercussions.
And finally, the Gorgon doesn't like regents who kill his henchmen. If the PCs defeat Skorn and Murkblade, the Gorgon certainly takes notice. He might send spies or assassins into the PC regent's domain. The awnshegh certainly blocks any attempt to form an alliance with Mhoried, which he plans to attack in the near future.

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