Excerpt from
Cormyr Excerpts

By Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, and James Wyatt

In Wheloon, a city known for its vibrant green slate roofs, a new temple to Mystra is in the final stages of construction. But something rings false among the heavenly spheres -- or at least among those who mouth the pieties of Mystra while plotting magical mayhem behind closed temple doors.

And that's just the beginning. . . .

The above passage is taken directly from the Introduction in Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave, a hardcover super-adventure that is designed to take characters from 4th to 8th level. If you want to learn more about what's inside this book, read the rest of the Introduction, take a look at some information about the Path of Shadows, and download and expand the zipped encounter files below!

Encounter A1
(1,231k PDF/ZIP)
Encounter WM1
(2,028k PDF/ZIP)
Encounter R12
(1,245k PDF/ZIP)

Introduction

In Wheloon, a city known for its vibrant green slate roofs, a new temple to Mystra is in the final stages of construction. But something rings false among the heavenly spheres -- or at least among those who mouth the pieties of Mystra while plotting magical mayhem behind closed temple doors.

And that's just the beginning. . . .

Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave is an adventure designed for four 4th-level Dungeons & Dragons characters. Player characters will advance through 5th level and into 6th level during the course of the adventure, and perhaps reach 7th or 8th level by its conclusion.

Preparation

As Dungeon Master, you need four books to run this adventure: the Player's Handbook (PH), the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), the Monster Manual (MM), and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS).

Review the information presented on pages 111-116 of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting and the information about southeastern Cormyr in the appendix of this product. Otherwise, feel free to modify the adventure to suit a location other than Cormyr.

Unless you decide otherwise, this adventure takes place during the fall of 1374 DR.

This adventure uses the tactical encounter format to describe areas where PCs are likely to enter melee.

How To Use the Tactical Encounter Format

Encounters unlikely to end in combat use traditional keyed adventure text. But if a keyed area indicates combat is expected, the entry directs the DM to an associated tactical encounter. The traditional keyed entries remain your flowchart of the adventure -- they tell you when to refer to a tactical encounter, and to what page number you should turn.

The most obvious feature of each tactical encounter is the map for that area. A variety of information accompanies each map -- creature descriptions, initial positions, creature statistics, tactics, traps (if any), and other related information.

The encounters in this adventure are designed for use with Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures. In most cases, a D&D miniature can represent a character or creature perfectly; other times you'll have to improvise.

How To Use Encounter Maps

As described on DMG 59, if a map feature covers more than half of a given square, the feature is considered to extend into that square. If it covers less than half of a square, it doesn't extend into that square.

For example, if an area of light undergrowth skirts around the edges of a square, but the rest of the square is clear, then there's no extra movement cost to enter that square. If the undergrowth reaches past the middle of the square, the square costs 2 squares to move into.

The same rule applies to diagonal walls. We've drawn diagonal walls on the maps so they cut through the centers of square edges instead of running corner to corner. This way, it's easy to tell whether a character can stand in a given square or not, since every square that a diagonal wall passes through is either largely clear (you can stand there) or just a small corner (you can't stand there).

Adventure Background

The goddess Mystra provides for and tends the Weave, the conduit through which most creatures in Toril access magical energy. Despite this central role, the worship of Mystra has declined over the years. Even so, new temples are sometimes commissioned.

Until recently, Cormyr did not have a single temple to the Mother of All Magic. That changed six months ago when a Mystran priestess named Lady of Mystery Naedaenya Arthas convinced Lord Sarp Redbeard, leader of Wheloon and lord of much of the surrounding lands, that hosting a temple of Mystra was exactly the thing to bolster the city's economy and create a trade destination for magical items, components, and lore. A good deal of bribe money also exchanged hands, but in the end, construction was sited and started.

The temple was located on the site of a ruined citadel at the edge of Wheloon. With a foundation -- albeit crumbling -- already in place, along with the magic-aided construction techniques available to those pledged to Mystra, the temple was finished in mere months. The open central courtyard hosted nightly services to the Lady of Mysteries beneath her symbol of the seven stars.

When Tunaster Dranik, an itinerant cleric of Mystra, happened through Wheloon, he was astonished to discover a full-sized temple where for years had been a ruined citadel. Had he missed the church communiqué concerning news of the opening? But it was glorious news nonetheless that Cormyr finally hosted a temple to Mystra. Tunaster entered the temple, jubilant and eager to see his fellow clergy in their new chapel.

He barely escaped with his life -- and his sanity.

Adventure Synopsis

The characters who undertake this adventure discover all is not what it seems in the new temple to Mystra in Wheloon. To get to the bottom of the mystery, the PCs must travel to an abandoned keep in the Vast Swamp, journey from there to the Plane of Shadow, and fight their way through swamps, towers, and canyons to battle a black dragon devoted to Shar.

Chapter 1: Temple of Mystra: The PCs must force or trick their way into the well-guarded temple to discover what is amiss. They find out that the clerics offer "Mystra's Sacred Trust" to travelers through town and other folk who aren't likely to be missed. These folk are dominated after a long ritual; those with no magical talent are tortured to death or fed to monsters. The others are taken from the city to a location in the Vast Swamp for an unknown purpose -- one the PCs will have to discover for themselves. The temple's "clerics of Mystra" are indeed clerics -- but they worship a far more malevolent goddess.

Chapter 2: Into the Vast Swamp: The PCs follow the trail of the dominated victims to the Vast Swamp, encountering both friends and foes on the way. At the edge of the swamp, an encounter with some local lizardfolk reveals the existence of hordes of undead -- once the brethren of these same lizardfolk -- and a castle in the swamp where the dominated victims enter, but never leave.

Chapter 3: Cormyr's Lost Refuge: The PCs must fight their way inside the castle to reveal the fate of the dominated residents of Wheloon. Once inside the keep they battle various foes, including the chieftain of the undead lizardfolk. Further investigation leads the PCs to a few of the dispossessed Wheloonians -- and a strange-looking portal to the Plane of Shadow where the others must have gone.

Chapter 4: The Path of Shadows: Emerging from the portal into a dark mirror of the Material Plane, the PCs have a choice: set off in a magic boat across the dark waterway, or trek overland across the wide shadow swamp. A water journey is unnerving but ultimately uneventful, while choosing to walk across the swamp brings the PCs to the lair of the undead lizardfolk. Eventually the PCs arrive at an ancient monastery where they meet agents of Cyric and learn that the combined clergies of Shar and Cyric are attempting to tear a hole in the Weave, creating a vast area of dead magic.

Chapter 5: The Black Rift: From the monastery, the PCs must journey to the Black Rift, a huge canyon inexplicably set in the middle of the swamp. Here the strange, warped nature of the Plane of Shadow becomes very apparent as the PCs fight their way through strange locations linked by long bridges across the rift. At the end of the chain of fortifications, the PCs meet Despayr, the dragon behind it all. If they succeed in defeating him, the rip in the Weave that Despayr has started will heal itself. If the PCs fail, great woe will befall Cormyr.


The Path of Shadows

Beyond the Dusk Lord's Passage a dark and perilous journey awaits the characters. The true lair of Shar's servants lies deep in the Plane of Shadow, and it is here that Despayr intends to consummate the ritual that will rip a hole in Mystra's Weave. Characters following the trail of those dominated by the Starry Gnosis find that it leads into the Vast Swamp's counterpart on the Plane of Shadow.

Many locales and structures from the Material Plane are echoed in the Plane of Shadow. When the characters pass through the Dusk Lord's Passage in the Great Hall of the Lost Refuge, they emerge in a strange, twisted duplicate of the fortress they just left. Like the Lost Refuge itself, this "shadow citadel" is garrisoned by Shar's servants. Not far from the Shadow Citadel lies the Shadowscale Warren, where most of the remaining Shadowscale lizardfolk dwell.

The next step in the journey is the Whispermere -- a sluggish watercourse winding through the swamps beyond the shadow tower's islet. A battered old ferryboat driven by skeletal oarsmen bears the dominated victims to a landing at the eastern edge of the swamp. The ruined Monastery of the Ebon Dome overlooks the landing and a short trail leading to the Black Rift -- the stronghold of Despayr.

In this chapter, the characters must choose whether to take the ferryboat directly to the rift, or first root out the last of the Shadowscales. Either way, they encounter the plane's deadly denizens as they make their way through the dark and sinister shadow-reflection of Cormyr's Vast Swamp.

The Plane of Shadow

The Plane of Shadow is a dark echo of the Material Plane. Where mountains exist in the "real" world, mountains exist on the Plane of Shadow. Where towns and cities exist in the real world, settlements lie in the world of shadow. However, the shadow-analogues of Material Plane places and things are usually twisted and distorted.

Since this adventure takes place in the shadow-analogue of the Vast Swamp, most of the Plane of Shadow in this vicinity is a great black swamp. Like its Material Plane twin, this swamp is heavily forested -- countless creeks and waterways wind between cypress stands, low hummocks covered in dense undergrowth, and patches of open water and reedy marsh.

Features of the Plane of Shadow

The Plane of Shadow is strange, dark, and deadly. Travelers feel as if they can't get warm, they hear and sense things that aren't there, and they constantly feel as if they're being watched. Remind the players from time to time of just how uneasy their characters feel during their sojourn in this forbidding plane.

In addition, the Plane of Shadow has the following traits.

Vision: There is no natural illumination on the Plane of Shadow, and unnatural gloom dominates the plane. Creatures with normal human vision can see dimly to a distance of 60 feet, and can't see anything past that. (Consider this to be shadowy illumination, which means that targets within 60 feet have concealment, and targets more than 60 feet away have total concealment.) Creatures with low-light vision can see 120 feet, again in shadowy illumination. Creatures with darkvision see as usual for their darkvision range.

Illumination: The illumination ranges of all light sources, including spells that produce light, are halved on the Plane of Shadow. The Illumination and Sight Distances table on the following page gives you a quick reference for the most common light sources characters are likely to use on the plane. Note that shadowy illumination produced by a light source does not "brighten" the area a creature can see around itself.

Mildly Neutral-Aligned: A mildly neutral-aligned plane does not apply a circumstance penalty to anyone.

Enhanced Magic: Spells that have the shadow descriptor are maximized, as though the Maximize Spell feat had been applied, though they do not require higher-level spell slots or longer than normal casting times. Furthermore, specific spells are more powerful on the Plane of Shadow than they are elsewhere. Shadow conjuration and shadow evocation are 30% as powerful as the spells they mimic, not 20%. Similarly, greater shadow conjuration and greater shadow evocation are 70% as powerful, not 60%. Shades conjure creatures, objects, and effects that are 90% of the power of the original rather than 80%.

Impeded Magic: Spells that have the fire descriptor or the light descriptor are impeded (Spellcraft DC 20 + spell level to cast).

No Ethereal Connection: The Plane of Shadow does not connect to the Ethereal Plane, so spells and effects that use the Ethereal Plane (for example, blink) do not function here.


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