Thursday, February 12, 2015

B6 The Veiled Society

Code       Title                                             Level     Author               Year
B6           The veiled Society                         1-3        David Cook         1984

About David Cook:

See AC 2, AC 8.  Up until this point, he has written more modules than anyone else.

Misc Info:

Graham Staplehusrt reviewed this module for White Dwarf issue No. 63, giving it 9 out of 10 overall, and felt it had "all the hallmarks of a classic adventure" despite what he felt were the "useless" cutouts. Staplehurst felt that having the adventure set in Specularum "provides players with almost unparalleled opportunity for personal choice and freedom for action", calling the adventure "true rolegaming and high drama", adding that the characters "must make the decisions of a real-life adventurer—and suffer the consequences!" He observed that the adventure's possibilities are structured to be used by less experienced Dungeon Masters (DMs), but each situation is detailed enough to allow for a variety of outcomes. Staplehurst felt that the plot read too much like a crude detective story, and gave the players little motivation. This, he felt, leaves extra preparatory work for the DM, who may want to weave the city into their campaign and make use of existing character histories, for the scenario to work to its full potential.
In his review of B1-9 In Search of Adventure in Dragon magazine No. 128 (December 1987), Ken Rolston calls David "Zeb" Cook's The Veiled Society one of the "two exceptionally fine adventures" in the compilation, and "a rare example of a political and diplomatic adventure in an urban setting for low-level D&D game characters".
In his 1991 book Heroic WorldsLawrence Schick calls this adventure "more thought-provoking than your usual hack-and-slash Basic scenario".

Module Excerpt:  (Background):

The Veiled Society is an adventure that takes place in the city of Specularum. Player characters become involved in the power struggles of the city. The "Veiled Society" includes paper sculpture buildings which will introduce a three-dimensional element into your campaign. Cut out and build the paper sculptures found in the center of this book. Your players ' may then see what the city looks like and where events occur. Before playing the first encounter, read this introduction and the encounter carefully. It is not necessary for you to read the entire module before you play. The adventure will last many nights; read only those parts you will play in one session. 
The setting for this adventure is the City of Specularum (shown on the inset map). 
Specularum, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, is the most important city in the area. Specularum and the Duchy are ruled by Duke Stefan Karameikos the Third. Specularum is the Duke's home, and the trading center of his dukedom. About 5,000 people live in or very near the city. They are farmers, craftsmen, sailors, and traders.
The city is accessed by a port. The port is protected on the seaward side by two long breakwaters. A large river east of the city allows ships to carry cargos inland to other towns of the dukedom. 
The Duke has protected his city from attack by erecting a wall around it. The wall is dotted with 24 towers. His castle is located on a craggy hill that looms over the harbor entrance. In the city, the Duke keeps 500 soldiers ready for any emergency. The Duke also has an elite troop, the Elvenguard, who go on special missions and sometimes act as his bodyguard.  The entire Elvenguard often patrols the forest lands to the north. 
Just to the south of the city is the private estate of the Duke, managed by a loyal cousin. This land is mostly well-tended woods and gardens. It is surrounded by a low (15') wall. The Duke uses the estate as a summer palace and hunting preserve. Anyone found on the grounds is treated as a poacher. Poor workers and petty thieves live just outside the city walls. They work outlying farms and the Estate of Marilenev, a holding that surrounds the city. There is a street map of the city on the inside cover. This map shows only a few specific buildings. Use this map when the characters move around the city. Since the streets are narrow, muddy, and crowded, characters move at the normal dungeon rate. The MAP 1 SPECULARUM Specularum Woods Fields 1 hex='/2 mile encounters are keyed to specific streets.
As the adventure progresses, you may want to note information on the map — the location of an inn or the name of an armorer. The city has all standard services that the characters need; place the service businesses wherever you wish. The city is a crowded, noisy, unsanitary place. It is like the medieval cities of Germany and Italy. Reading about these cities will provide information useful in describing Specularum. The streets are very narrow, twisting, and dark. There is no sewage system, except for trenches in the centers of streets. Pigs, chickens, geese, and goats are not uncommon in the poorer sections of the city. Most buildings stand one or two stories. They are made of dried clay brick or mud and wattle, constructed on a wooden frame. A few buildings are made of stone or fired brick. Most businesses are on the ground floor, the owner living upstairs. Water is drawn from public wells, or from the river when the tide is flowing out. Crime and gangs are not uncommon. The gangs meet near the city walls and in the squalid sections late at night.

What we know:

We know that there is the Grand Duchy of Karameikos.
We know that capital is Specularum and that it is on the coast and on top of a hill.
We also know that there is a city that runs east and links some towns.
We know that there is a loyal cousin that lives on an estate with trees and farmland.

I've intentionally left a lot of Karameikos empty, knowing that there may be more to happen there.  

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