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FRQ1 Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (2e)
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FRQ1 Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (2e)

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Welcome to the picturesque village of Eveningstar, nestled at the foot of the Stonelands where the River Starwater winds down a gorge and snakes into the King's Forest. Here, the Knights of Myth Drannor began their famous adventures. Here, the Ladies of the Brazen Blade, The Company of the Singing Sword, The Steel Shield Band, and many other came, clutching royal charters from King Azoun with the ink scarcely dry on the parchment. Some fell, some went on to greatness-but they all came here first; to the Haunted Halls.

Despite numerous infiltrations, the Halls have not yet yielded all their secrets or treasures. Many dangers lurk as deadly as ever in dark chambers herein, awaiting new companies of eager-eyed adventurers.

Is it your turn to dare The Haunted Halls? Many come, but few survive to again see Eveningstar's beauty.

Welcome, then. Enter in, and find in these pages:

  • A challenging introductory level dungeon.
  • A detailed countryside setting, including important local personages, local color, and guidelines for play. Suggested campaign plots and adventures.
  • New spells.
  • New magical items.
  • New monsters.

A splendid campaign can begin here. Adventurers in an ongoing campaign can stop by for a memorable visit. Those looking for an underground stronghold may even find a home in the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar.

Product History

FRQ1: "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" (1992), by Ed Greenwood, is the first Forgotten Realms Quest. It was published in May 1992.

Origins (I): Library Dungeons. Ed Greenwood originally created the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar as a "starter dungeon". It was used in seven different 13-session D&D sessions that he ran at the Don Mills and Brookbanks branches of the North York Public Library, beginning in 1979. However, those adventures didn't stay in Eveningstar; they later moved on to Cormyr and the Dales. Greenwood's D&D play was just one of the many teen programs run at the libraries, which also included popular options like babysitting training and good grooming.

The Knights of Myth Drannor were the most famous group to explore the Haunted Halls, starting in their second campaign. There they rooted out undercover agents in Eveningstar, fought against a Zhent agent named Whisper, and explored Whisper's Crypt. They wandered though the Stonelands, traveled into Waymoot, Dhedluk, and King's Forest, and finally journeyed on themselves, to the Dales and to Myth Drannor, which would give them their name.

Though Greenwood frequently returned to Eveningstar, the adventures weren't just repeats of each other. What one adventuring party did could affect the dungeon dressings seen by the next group, as Greenwood restocked the dungeons over time.

Origins (II): D&D Adventures. Meanwhile, TSR was publishing a variety of standalone Realms adventures in the early '90s. They began with the short-lived "FA" series of adventures (1990-1991) then temporarily moved over to the sub-setting of Maztica, which got its own trilogy of scenarios (1991-1992). Following the publication of the last, FMQ1: "City of Gold" (1992), TSR was ready to return to adventures set in the Heartlands.

Origins (III): Module Plans. "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" was originally pitched as a 128-page super-module, which would have allowed for a complete campaign starter — matching what Greenwood had run in all those library sessions. It would have included soap-opera-like plots among the villagers of Eveningstar while also detailing the local temple of Lathander. There would have been a number of small dungeons including: the Caverns of the Claws, a troll lair in the cliff fissures east of Eveningstar; Whisper's Crypt, under the Stonelands; and the Silent House hideaway. Finally, three full layers of the Haunted Halls would have been detailed, full of hacking, slashing, puzzling, and intrigue. Huge rosters of NPCs would have filled all these areas out. The goal was ultimately to involve the players in Cormyrean politics and to oppose them with the Zhentarim. Greenwood intended that players could spend six or seven years real-time in the village and environs.

Origins (IV): Massive Cuts. Unfortunately, TSR decided to drop "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" down to 32 pages, turning a massive campaign starter into a one-shot dungeon crawl. As a result, Greenwood had to massively cut back his plans. Still, he vigorously argued with TSR staff to ensure had as much space as he could eke out, even getting them to remove two pages of ads planned for the end of the module.

All that survives in the published "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" is some basic information on the town and the first levels of the Haunted Halls dungeon. The additional levels and all the nearby mini-dungeons were cut, alongside most of the NPCs and monsters, including some of Greenwood's unique undead, such as the Boneless and the Curst — which had been the subject of Greenwood's first Realms article, way back in The Dragon #30 (October 1979). Greenwood also cut out dungeon locations that featured fading, flickering, ever-repeating spells that had lingered — which were the true source of the name for the "Haunted" halls.

Origins (V): Novelistic Returns. Though the lost levels of Eveningstar have never appeared in print, Greenwood has been able to return to the area in some of his novels. Crown of Fire (1994) spends some time in Eveningstar and details the Silent House while Swords of Eveningstar (2006) tells the story of the Knights of Myth Drannor's beginnings, starting in Eveningstar.

Adventure Tropes. "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" is a typical town-and-down adventure. Following in the footsteps of T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979) it features an extensive village as well as a dungeon crawl nearby.

Despite its early origin, the Haunted Halls is a sophisticated dungeon that embeds its history in its dungeon dressing details, revealing an ecosystem that's more than just room after room of monster.

Exploring the Realms. "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" offers extensive details on the village of Eveningstar, which is set in the Stonelands near Cormyr.

About the Creators. Greenwood is of course the creator of the Forgotten Realms and the many holder of its lore.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Pages
32
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1.0
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TSR 9354
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