Excerpt from
Fields of Ruin Excerpt
By Richard Pett

Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin features two double-sided poster maps designed for roleplaying and miniatures skirmish play. An accompanying 16-page adventure can be dropped into any campaign. Enemies include creatures from the recent D&D War Drums miniatures expansion. The two poster maps can be put together to form a ruined stronghold, while the reverse sides feature more ruins and battlefields players can explore. The excerpts below include introductions to the adventure and various areas, plus two encounters.

Introduction

This 16-page adventure booklet contains several challenging encounters that can be combined to form a short Dungons & Dragons adventure intended for four 8th-level characters. The encounters play out on the battle maps included in this product. To run these encounters properly, you (as the Dungeon Master) need the Player's Handbook (PH), Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), and Monster Manual (MM), as well as some D&D miniatures. The Adventure Background (see below) contains all of the information you need to get the adventure underway. Although designed for 8th-level characters, this adventure requires only minor adjustments to adapt it to lower- or higher-level play.

The last page of this booklet contains skirmish battle scenarios designed for players of the Dungeons & DragonsMiniatures Game. The skirmish scenarios, like the RPG encounters, were written with the enclosed battle maps in mind.

USING THE BATTLE MAPS

Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin includes four miniatures-scale maps that provide exciting battlegrounds for RPG encounters or miniatures skirmish battles. These maps allow for dynamic and challenging encounters, encouraging you and your players to make important tactical decisions while combat is underway. Two of these maps -- those depicting the ruined keep -- are designed to fit together to provide an even larger area for adventure.

For the Roleplaying Game:Fantastic Locations battle maps don't depict your average dungeon complex. The maps aren't meant to represent an entire adventure, either. Instead, the maps provide interesting locations for key scenes and important battles. It takes a lot of effort on your part to design a complex encounter, but here the work is done for you. The monster tactics take advantage of the maps provided, ensuring that the battles range over large sections of the map terrain.

Small reproductions of the maps, with the numbered locations within each site identified, are printed on the inside covers of this booklet. For obvious reasons, your players should not be allowed to view these small maps.

If you decide not to run the Fields of Ruin adventure, you can freely adapt the battle maps to other encounters in your own campaign.

For Skirmish Play: The maps in this product are carefully designed for fast and exciting D&D miniatures play. You can use these maps for any D&D miniatures games. You can also use Fantastic Locations maps in sanctioned miniatures tournaments.

Refer to page 16 for specifics on using these maps with official D&D miniatures.

ADVENTURE BACKGROUND

The Keep of Fallen Kings fell centuries ago in battle, and her stones and surroundings are now a field of skulls, sundered weapons, broken siege engines, and detritus. The Old Kings were cruel men who ruled their lands with fear. When the armies of their neighbors attacked the keep and finally slew the last of the tyrant kings, they left the cursed place to rot.

Two weeks ago, a power-hungry sorcerer named Raseris began searching for the Earthcrown, a powerful magic item, in the lands once claimed by the Old Kings. To the fallen kings, the Earthcrown was a symbol of man's domination of the earth, for the Earthcrown grants its owner control over earth elementals. To Raseris, it was just another weapon to add to his growing arsenal. Raseris found the Keep of Fallen Kings inhabited by orcs, ogres, and giants. A vicious battle ensued, and although Raseris emerged triumphant, most of his hired followers were slain in the altercation, and several more fled after Raseris indiscriminately hit them with fireballs while attempting to obliterate his enemies. Impatient and eager to retrieve the Earthcrown, Raseris alone explored the secret dungeon beneath the keep and suffered a terrible fate in doing so. Unfortunately for him, he was short on spells and could not defend himself against the dangers within. His remains now lie among those of countless adventurers who have, over the years, fallen prey to the dungeon's remaining denizens.

One week ago, a tiefling blademaster named Kazmir overheard a pair of drunken mercenaries talking about Raseris's quest for the elusive Earthcrown. That conversation led Kazmir to the ruined keep. Shortly after his arrival, a band of half-fiend ogres set down in the ruined courtyard and began sifting through the ruins. Observing them from the shadows and eavesdropping on their conversations, Kazmir deduced that the half-fiends were scouting the ruins as a possible staging area for future raids against nearby lands. Not wanting to provoke a fight, Kazmir intends to withdraw to the dungeon beneath the keep, intent on finding the Earthcrown before the half-ogres find him.

Kazmir isn't the only one who has uncovered Raseris's quest for the Earthcrown. A dwarf lord named Malek Ironshard has obtained a journal that fully describes the nature of the magic item and Raseris's quest to recover it. Not knowing whether Raseris is alive or dead, Lord Ironshard has enlisted the characters' aid in recovering the Earthcrown to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands.

CHOOSING AN ADVENTURE HOOK

The player characters (PCs) can become involved in the adventure in several ways. Choose the hook that best suits your particular group of characters.

FURTHER ADVENTURES

All the encounters described in this adventure booklet unfold on the miniatures-scale battle maps included in this product. Although the maps in each Fantastic Locations product emphasize specific terrain elements that allow for more exciting and compelling battles, they are quite versatile, and we encourage you to use them more then once in a campaign. Players might revisit the Kings Road map after many levels and confront higher-level foes, or the Dungeon of Blood map could be used to represent another underground complex later in your campaign. Check the Wizards of the Coast website, RPGA adventures, and the pages of Dungeon magazine for variant encounters using the Fantastic Locations maps.

The Hunt for Raseris: Raseris found the location of the Earthcrown with the help of a misguided sage named Torith. Before setting out to retrieve the item, Raseris dispatched Torith as a precaution. A local lord named Malek Ironshard has investigated the sage's death and believes Raseris is responsible. Ironshard's agents found a secret journal in the sage's home that described the Earthcrown and Raseris's quest to locate it. Lord Ironshard hires the PCs to recover the Earthcrown and bring the sorcerer back to face his crime.

If You Choose This Hook: The adventure assumes that you use this option, and you need to make only minor modifications to adapt the adventure to your campaign world. Lord Ironshard offers a reward of 1,000 pp for the capture of Raseris and 50,000 gp in rubies and emeralds for delivering the Earthcrown to him.

The Hunt for the Magpie Man: The PCs have been tracking the tiefling blademaster Kazmir, who is wanted for crimes of theft. Characters who capture the tiefling alive can collect a respectable bounty (5,000 gp). The PCs know that Kazmir is a skilled swordsman and is often referred to as "the Magpie Man" because of his predilection for hoarding stolen treasure.

If You Choose This Hook: Run the adventure as normal. If Kazmir is captured before he recovers the Earthcrown, he tries to persuade the PCs to help him explore the dungeon beneath the ruins, hoping that they will be as eager to find the lost treasures of the Old Kings as he is.

Scouring the Keep: The PCs have been sent to the Keep of Fallen Kings to rid it of monsters. They might be hired by a local lord who is concerned about brigands using the keep as a base of operations, a force of dwarves keen on expanding their frontiers, or a group of clerics planning to convert the ruined keep into a temple.

If You Choose This Hook: To claim their reward, the PCs must clear out the whole keep. Again, the adventure can be run as normal.

New Owners: The PCs obtain the deed to the keep and seek to claim it. The PCs might receive the deed as a reward from some twisted patron with a sense of humor who is aware of the keep's history, or they might find it amid various other items in a treasure hoard.

If You Choose This Hook: The player characters are here for their own good, and the clearance of the whole keep will be an obvious goal to create a safe base of operations. Run the adventure as written.


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