The Black Knight of Avenal

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The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:27 pm

I was a little disappointed upon reading Sword and Shield and finding that the current Black Knight, Argyle, was nothing more than a 4th level fighter. I know TR is designed for low level characters and sometimes I do get carried away turning NPCs into über-characters, but how about having the original Black Knight lurking in the background? He would be dead now ofcourse, but possibly still active as a Wight or....a Death Knight?

I always believed the module detailing the Black Knight was supposed to shed some more light on Avengers. As usual this class option is forgotten (ofcourse not really relevant in a low level campaign) which is sad. Perhaps Avengers who die before completing a mission become the Mystaran equivalent of Death Knights? Death Avengers?

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Dave L » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:05 pm

It actually seemed to me while reading the module that the Black Knight was more honourable than his son.

The son is trying to achieve the same status as his father, but without the ability, it seems to me.

I could be wrong - but it seemed the chaotic priest and bandit-style followers were a recent innovation, not something carried over from his father.

I see him as being Lawful/Neutral (although I'm strictly OD&D ;) ), but perhaps the need for revenge coupled with a lack of ability is what tipped his son over the edge.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by rossik » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:06 pm

i agree with dave.

the "new" black knight is younger and dont seems to have the same morals as his father. even if the original BK was a evil guy, he could have honor and such.

being a 4 level seems right to a "spoiled child".

now, maybe after loosing to the characters, he could see how week he was, and search for more power.
this may lead him to became a death knight.


oh well, the wonders of imagination... :D

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:09 pm

rossik wrote:i agree with dave.

the "new" black knight is younger and dont seems to have the same morals as his father. even if the original BK was a evil guy, he could have honor and such.

being a 4 level seems right to a "spoiled child".

Interesting ideas. Actually the original Black Knight would be around 50-60 so he might actually still be alive. But I agree about the OBK (Original Black Knight) being honorable, though driven by revenge. I like your suggestions about the son. I wonder if Avenal may have been the name of the OBK? In any case, the Keep may have been one of the secret strongholds of the Fighter's Academy, possibly constructed around the same time as Castle Kraal. It is likely that the Fighters Academy were responsible for constructing most of these military fortifications around Thunder Rift, providing security in the name of the King(?) while mages, clerics and thieves provided other services. The title Knight may have been given only to those with training from the Fighter's Academy, although this and other military responsibilities have now been taken over by the individual towns and villages.

now, maybe after loosing to the characters, he could see how week he was, and search for more power.
this may lead him to became a death knight.
My idea is that the OBK would be the Death Knight (assuming he isn't still alive). It would definately be interesting if Sir Argyle took a further step towards evil as a result of the events of Sword and Shield, although perhaps it could also be possible to turn him to the good side?

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Dave L » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:58 pm

Havard wrote: Interesting ideas. Actually the original Black Knight would be around 50-60 so he might actually still be alive.
The Black Knight died 3 months before the events in the Sword & Shield module.

His tomb is located within the Keep.
His ghost also appears there - but it is harmless to the PC, and the text states that if holy water is sprinkled on the Black Knight's corpse, the ghost will be banished.

Although only a very well equipped low-level PC would have a vial of holy water with him!

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:41 pm

Dave L wrote: The Black Knight died 3 months before the events in the Sword & Shield module.

His tomb is located within the Keep.
His ghost also appears there - but it is harmless to the PC, and the text states that if holy water is sprinkled on the Black Knight's corpse, the ghost will be banished.

Although only a very well equipped low-level PC would have a vial of holy water with him!
Ah, I had forgotten about that scene. Thanks for reminding me! :)

Cool, so we know he is dead....or do we?

Some possibilities:

* The ghost is a premonition, a sign that Lord Avenal will rise as a Death Knight upon the next full moon.
* Its not really a ghost at all, but a projected image. Lord Avenal is alive or at least around in some way or other. Perhaps his son is actually the father who has undergone some ritual involving drinking blood in order to stay young. But he needs more blood to regain his true level rather than a mere 4th level, preferably the blood of powerful warriors, hence the tournament. :twisted:
* He is dead, but may be restored at a later point.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Dave L » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:43 pm

I'd say he has to be dead, as the corpse is in the coffin, wearing his armour, and the module specifically said he's been dead for 3 months.

I don't know how that works with your plans for a Death Knight, as I don't recall the rules dealing with their creation.

I suppose a resurrect spell followed by a potion of longevity would restore him to active duty, but that would depend on what you allow in your campaign.

Maybe a faithful retainer, scandalized by the sons behaviour, could arrange for the master to return to "sort out" the young whippersnapper. :)

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:20 pm

Dave L wrote:I'd say he has to be dead, as the corpse is in the coffin, wearing his armour, and the module specifically said he's been dead for 3 months.

I don't know how that works with your plans for a Death Knight, as I don't recall the rules dealing with their creation.
Mystara has no Death Knights, so we can make things up as we see it fit here. Thanks for the details BTW. Ofcourse, whats to say the corpse is real? :twisted:
I suppose a resurrect spell followed by a potion of longevity would restore him to active duty, but that would depend on what you allow in your campaign.

Maybe a faithful retainer, scandalized by the sons behaviour, could arrange for the master to return to "sort out" the young whippersnapper. :)
I like that. The retainer peforms some dark ritual to bring the father back from the grave. Ofcourse he produces a worse abomination than he may have foreseen.

Thoughts: How will the Death Knight interract with his son? Will the son become a mere pawn of his father, or is there more to the son than what has been revealed so far? Perhaps the son will begin plotting against his father to somehow harvest that undead power? This could involve having Argyle contact the PCs, while ofcourse trying to trick both sides...

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Phoenixmcl » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:15 pm

During my home campaign there are two tribes of Makistani barbarians that live near the Black Knight's Keep in the lower grass lands. One tribe swears allegiance to the Black Night and acts as his servants. The other tribe (The Malakis) are the ones raided by The Black Knight at the beginning of the adventure where Gertie and Adrianna hail from. (Two NPCs you missed on your list Havard :lol: ) Both tribes are basically gypsies are their religion is closer to their Atruaghin roots than their ancestors that inhabit the Ylaurum. Basically horse riding gypsies. The Malakis worship Terra (Yamuga) and uphold the horse. While the other tribe is newly converted to Al-Kalim and are being exploited by the Black Knight on what exactly their faith is.

Basically the idea by having a Makistani tribe is to develop the Thunder Rift in two ways. The Makistani provide a Vlad the Impaler (before Dracula) feel to the Black Knight as he rises in political power in Thunder Rift. At the beginning of Sword and Shield he is attempting to build the favor of the Knights of Thunder Rift. By the end he has persuaded two chaotic knights to join him. As he rises in power he attempts to unify the Makistani under his control to aid as an army in a secret plan to control the Rift and bid to become the Duke of Thunder Rift by persuading The Thyatian Empire into believing he is the only one capable of controlling this relatively new frontier rich with the magical metal (from TSR's Dragon Quest) eisenmond. Eisenmond maybe a secret property that the Dwarves of Thunder Rift (Cousins of Rockhome) and the Knights of Thunder Rift only know about. Eisenmond maybe believed to be a secret element in creating magical weapons that the Thyatis nobles hope to aid them as a secret weapon against the possibility of future Alphatian invasion.

The second reason for the tribe is that it allows connection with the Jade Hare adventure. The Jade Hare fits in well as a side trek adventure along the road that leads out of the Horned Hills to the east. The Jade adventure is set in Ylaurum and if Thunder Rift is placed in Altan Tepes Mnts, then trade road makes it more probable that it runs east to Ylaurum. This also increases the idea that at 1000 AC Thunder Rift is a Thyatian Colony secretly organized as a trade center between Darokin, The Emirates and Thyatis.

Looking at these two reasons it makes Thunder Rift both important and a reason to be secretive. In essence the current population of humans has Thyatian ties are being used as a frontier colony. This also attributes to the Germanic qualities of names and background that would be similar in the later days of Rome and their actions north of the Alps.

Just something to think about. I see Thunder Rift as a Germanic Hungarian State with upstart Knights and plenty of danger from the wild frontier trapped in the valley walls. The Sword and Shield is an essential component in developing the internal politics of humans in the Rift. While many of the other adventures are great at developing the towns and deal with other races this one is special at setting up human relationships. I mean the PCs can choose to side with the Black Knight :twisted:

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Belathauzer » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:04 pm

Love the setup Phoenixmcl. I always intended on having Ylari in TR as a small minority of nomads. The way that you're doing it is in line with what I had envisioned. I'll be grabbing some of these ideas. I especially like how you tied these tribes in with the Sword & Shields adventure via Gertie & Adrianna.

The whole Vlad the Impaler thing works quite nicely, especially if the Rift is placed in the Altan Tepes Mountains between Karameikos, Thyatis, Darokin, and Ylaruam. I like your comparisons to the late Roman empire and making TR similar to a Germanic/Hungarian State with upstart knights (ala Romania/Transylvania I assume?). This works very well both for TR and the region, what with Thyatis and Karameikos both bearing strong similarities to late Roman/Byzantine and German/Hungarian cultures respectively. The Jade Hare adventure is also a natural adventure to have if exiting the rift via the trade road and gives another option for characters seeking to leave TR other than using the Escape from Thunder Rift adventure.

Nicely done. I plan on using these ideas in some modified way in my games now. ;)
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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:29 pm

Welcome to the Piazza Phoenixmcl! 8-) What took you so long? ;)

I agree with Belathauzer, these are some great ideas! Thanks for pointing out those NPCs I missed. Connecting them to Makistanis is a good idea, especially with the proximity to Ylaruam that most now seem to agree upon. I also like the Jade Hare angle. That module was published in the same era as TR so some connection there would be nice.

I am intrigued by this Eisendmond! Can you tell us more about it?

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by yellowdingo » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:23 pm

I think the Lizard men present in the Castle have plans that involve restoring the Old Black Knight to a Powerful Undead Status - Black Knight Junior has little clue as to their insideous plans to bring Daddy back...

I actually positioned this in the eastern edge of Blight Swamp fifteen miles north of Black Eagle Barony. That way would be low level "Knights" start showing up for the tounament. The Chaotics are from the Black Eagle Barony.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:35 pm

yellowdingo wrote:I think the Lizard men present in the Castle have plans that involve restoring the Old Black Knight to a Powerful Undead Status - Black Knight Junior has little clue as to their insideous plans to bring Daddy back...
That is a great idea! If the son survives Sword and Shield, he may be driven over to the side of the PCs if Daddy is as bad as I think he might be. Lizardmen eh? What does that tell us about the Black Knight's involvements with Castle Kraal?
I actually positioned this in the eastern edge of Blight Swamp fifteen miles north of Black Eagle Barony. That way would be low level "Knights" start showing up for the tounament. The Chaotics are from the Black Eagle Barony.
That should probably work well. Most of the Thunder Rift modules are generic enough to be placed anywhere on Mystara I guess :)

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by yellowdingo » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:30 am

The leader of the Lizard men in the castle is a Shaman.

LIZARDMAN SHAMAN (Lets call him something quasi-nithian: "Suu-Tesh"): AC5; HD2+1; 12 hp; MV (20') 60'; #AT 1; THACO 17; DMG 1d4+1 (club); Save as: Cleric 3; ML 12; AL N; Equipment: Club, Holy Symbol, Small sack (50gp pearl, scroll-Protection from undead), Spells commonly prayed for: Cure Light Wounds, Cause Light Wounds

The Black Knight's tomb is already guarded by 2 Skeletons and 3 Zombies so someone with Animate dead has already been by. The Old Black Knight has ties to a Powerful Cleric of Evil.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Dreadnaught » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:49 am

Plus he has has a small fortress, a fair amount of treasure and may have added as many as four new 'knights' of up to 3rd level by the end of the adventure to his force of orcs, lizardmen, etc.

If he wins he's certainly going to be seeking to improve his position, perhaps a henchman(mage or cleric) or two, and he may even have a ring of regeneration, which certainly can't harm his fighting prospects.

Of course, if Daddy Death Knight comes back, the fortress may be drowning in the undead real soon now.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by KyloTango » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:35 am

I see the Black Knight as the young kid who is trying to re-establish some of the old traditions that existed in his fathers time. I also like him as a good guy rather than a bad guy. I am DM'ing a 4E campaign that is using Sword and Shield as the first module and the Black Knight for now is a good guy, and Perin the Cleric along with Revit the Butler and Taris (once Neutral now Chaotic) are the bad guys. They are helped out by lots of Lizardfolk. Greenscale hunters, darters and a marsh mystic. This way we can do the tournament, the bad guys get killed but the Black Knight and many other of the knights introduced can remain viable NPC options for later on.

Plus I have Nicholas Maybrush helping the young black knight to further his own devious ends.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Havard » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:01 pm

KyloTango wrote:I see the Black Knight as the young kid who is trying to re-establish some of the old traditions that existed in his fathers time. I also like him as a good guy rather than a bad guy. I am DM'ing a 4E campaign that is using Sword and Shield as the first module and the Black Knight for now is a good guy, and Perin the Cleric along with Revit the Butler and Taris (once Neutral now Chaotic) are the bad guys. They are helped out by lots of Lizardfolk. Greenscale hunters, darters and a marsh mystic. This way we can do the tournament, the bad guys get killed but the Black Knight and many other of the knights introduced can remain viable NPC options for later on.

Plus I have Nicholas Maybrush helping the young black knight to further his own devious ends.
Interesting thoughts KyloTango! This really plays up the role of Maybrush as the main villain. I like it! :twisted:

The connection between the lizardfolk and the knights is interesting. I really don't know what the lizards want. Any ideas?

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Noxxon » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:55 pm

The following are from Havard's TR Timeline
AC 302
Castle Kraal has served dutifully for a century, but now rumours of decadence among Kraal's warriors begins to spread.

AC 309
A new commander is placed in charge of Castle Kraal. She begins turning things around, but before she has a chance to set things right, the Castle is destroyed. A traitor among the warriors' ranks uses the artifact known as the Orb of Kraal to sink the castle, killing most of the inhabitants. The rest are killed by encroaching Newts. The Orb of Kraal is lost in the swamp, and though it is said to have lost its magic, it may still hold the key to raising the Castle from the swamps.

AC 970 Sword vs. Wand:
The warriors of Jameson's Academy have never forgotten the incident of Castle Kraal, remembered now as "the pride of the Academy", and they have always since blamed the mages of Wizardspire for what happened. After centuries of hatred between the two groups, the mages of Wizardspire go to war against the warriors of Sir Jameson's Academy. The mages unleash devastating magic that turn their enemies land into what will be known as the Gloomfens. The Wizard believed to be mainly responsible for this dreaded spell is known as the Mad Mage.

AC 971
One year later, a group of warriors infiltrate the Wizardspire and kill every last Wizard there. (Thunder Rift). The group is lead by a warrior known as the Black Knight. He flees into the swamps where he forms the Assassins' Academy. The Mad Mage is believed to have survived this attack, however.
The following are from the Thunder Rift (setting book), The Knight of Newts and Sword and Shield.
Thunder Rift (pg. 13)
Those who survived wreaked a horrible vengeance on the scorcerers in turn: they waited a year to lull the magicians into a false sense of security, and then they moved. The wizards no longer expected to become objects of a fearsome slaughter, so they admitted a group of young men who petitioned for magic instruction. Then, the blood of masters and apprentices alike flowed thickly throught the makeshift halls of the wizards' new retreat atop Wizardspire. It is said that nothing was left alive.
The assassins fled from the tower to the south and disappeared out of knowledge. Legends say that they still hide from the vengeance of any of the wizards' successors in the marsh in the southern tip of Thunder Rift, honing their fighting skills to a deadly edge.

The Knight of Newts (pg. 3)
It was whisppered that the success of an Ogre raid against a small populace in the Lower Great Grasslands was due to a bribe given to the commandant of Kraal.

The commandant was discharged and expelled to the south.

After seven years of bad conditions, dreadful morale, and an extraordinarily high desertion rate, a bright, talented, and young, commandant took command.

Sword and Shield (pg. 3)
The Black Knight is rumored to have descended from assassin-fighters, and to have elevated the art of killing to a science.
Now to the Point of this little history lesson. With the above information in mind, I think that the former commandant of Kraal must have been some sort of noble (only someone of noble blood could have been banished instead of killed outright for such crimes), and was exiled back to his minor holdings in the south (read as house-arrest). He may have even been dubbed 'The Black Knight' at the time as a way to dishonor both him and his family's name.
Over the next seven years, as the conditions at Kraal declined, a good deal of the soldiers that deserted may have found their way to his keep, and maybe even included his son (someone had to keep the family name going after all, but may well come to an end if Agryl is actually killed off at the end of Sword and Shield).
As news of the fall of Kraal spread, the commandant and his loyal followers, Academy loyalist all, would have been ready to kill every wizard that they could lay hands to. However, knowing that they would be swatted like nothing more than flies, instead began training in preperation for their vengeance. The assassins that wiped-out the mages of Wizardspire would have been the end result of this training.
The attack on Wizardspire would have been a three-pronged act of revenge. First, to avenge the precieved wrongs committed against the disgraced commandant (as the wizards were never able to find out the truth of the matter, the fighters would have blamed them, at least in part, for his exile). Second, to avenge their fallen comrads of Kraal (as the fall of Kraal was known to have been done magically the fighters would have also blamed the wizards, maybe thinking that even if not directly a part of it, that maybe it could have been prevented by the wizards). Third, to avenge the fall of the Academy (as everyone knew that the wizards were directly involved in that).
After returning to the south, The Black Knight would have been fearful of retaliation and most likely kept his men on a very short leash, killing those that decided to try to return to society after the attack. As years passed, most of the assassins would have been killed off by The Black Knight in order to protect not only himself but also his family. Passing on his knowledge and training to his sons/daughters, all ending with the death of Agryl's father. Who wanted to end the generations-long, self-imposed exile of his family, maybe thinking that Agryl would find a way to rejoin society.

Any thoughts on this would be welcome.


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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Gravesguardian » Sat May 12, 2018 7:34 pm

An adventure for one or more characters of 1st-3rd level. (I'll get back to this later.)

pg. 3 second paragraph states that Agryl is only nineteen years old. Being a level 4 Fighter seems right for a 19 year old. Especially since daddy died only 3 months ago. Staying w/ the second paragraph: "The Black Knight did not want his son merely to inherit power and wealth; he wanted Agryl to earn these himself. If Agryl could not earn them, then he did not deserve them. In his declining years, the Black Knight spent his fortune and remained at home, allowing tales of his exploits to fade."
Paragraph three states: "Agryl wishes to rebuild the reputation and influence his father enjoyed so many years ago, but his ambitions outweigh his intelligence, and he is not sure how to do so."
These read to me as an inept son w/o the ability to earn achievements on his own. Maybe at the time of daddy's death, Agryl only being 4th level was a major disappointment to his father?

Now to get back to the opening line: "one or more characters of 1st-3rd level"
Room 12: Trap Room: "If the armor golem is defeated, it collapses with a loud crash. If the PC spends 1d6 hours cleaning and repairing the pieces with the fluids in his room, he has a suit of human-sized plate mail +1. (The PC could also pay an armorer 500gp to do the job.)"
Room 13: Treasure Room: "The two suits of armor are plate mail +1."
Room 24: Tomb of the Black Knight: "The armor is plate +1 and the weapon is a sword +3."

For an adventure of 1st-3rd level and one or more PC's, finding 4 suits of magical Plate Mail +1 seems excessive, to say the least. In addition is Room 17: The Black Knight's Room where Adrianna the 2nd level Magic-User is "imprisoned". Magic Missile & Sleep spells are memorized while a dagger is listed for damage. (They screwed up the AC by listing it as 10 rather than the 9 that is BECMI/RC cap.)
Now it is possible to go up a level during the adventure so a PC could end up at 4th level for the final battle w/ Agryl; but, due to the number of baddies a lone PC would be quickly overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Adding in Adrianna's lack of an AC & even her two spells wouldn't help the PC win. If, however, we retconned one of those magical suits of plate mail into say: a Amulet/Bracers/Robes/Vest of Protection AC 2 (as can be found in the various M2-5 modules) then she might be of more help. (Changing her to a 2nd level Elf would be even more helpful.)
Perrin is a 5th level Cleric, the Lizard Man Shaman would be 3rd level (having access to 2 spells) which means short of using an item (scroll or ring, maybe) neither could raise the previous Black Knight much less animate him as more than maybe a zombie. Due to how few Skeletons and Zombies there are. it's possible Perrin animated them; but, couldn't affect Black Knight Sr. Also, the above listed paragraphs read to me that Sr. was content w/ his life and accepting of his death, so he'ld be unlikely to return as any kind of "willing" undead.

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Re: The Black Knight of Avenal

Post by Wollow » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:14 am

I always though the ghost of Sr was there to keep his son away from his "personal equipment" until he was deemed "ready".

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