Randal Morn certainly has his hands full! The temple of Lathander, which burned to the ground eight years ago, seems to be the source of a curse affecting the entire town. People are taking ill, animals are dying overnight, crops are failing. All this seems to have started after Eragyn, priestess of Cyric, disappeared from Daggerdale. Shortly before that, a forgotten mage-lord's crypt was discovered and opened, and things just haven't been the same since.
Constable Tren is displeased with the situation, what with suspicion being cast in the Zhentarim's direction as well as toward Cyric's priesthood. He's undoubtedly making the Dalesfolk's lives more difficult than usual because of this upheaval. Randal has sent out the call for aid to all who are interested and able to help; his freedom riders have their hands full already.
A missing evil priestess, a mage-lord's crypt-curse, a plague, and possible Zhentarim involvement: all the elements of a rousing adventure in one place! Where do your characters sign up? Step right this way, won't you?
This is the first module created for use with the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. However, it is not necessary to have that edition in order to play this adventure.
FRQ3: "Doom of Daggerdale" (1993), by Wolfgang Baur, is the third adventure in the series of Forgotten Realms "Quest" adventures. It was published in September 1993.
Origins. Baur was asked to write a short adventure set in the Dalelands and including Randal Morn - doubtless because of the impending release of The Dalelands sourcebook in October 1993. "Doom of Daggerdale" was the result. It was also the first adventure written for use with the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Revised Edition (1993).
Concluding the FRQs… and the Standalone Adventures for the Realms. "Doom of Daggerdale" was the third and final module in the "FRQ" series of Forgotten Realms adventures. As with its predecessors, it was designed to work as a standalone adventure. Whether by accident or by design, the FRQ series managed to cover Ed Greenwood's three strongest Realms settings, based on his classic house campaigns. FRQ1: "Haunted Halls of Evening Star" (1992) was set in Cormyr; FRQ2: "Hordes of Dragonspear" (1992) was set on the Sword Coast; and (as requested) FRQ3: "Doom of Daggerdale" was set in the Dalelands.
Somewhat confusingly, though, TSR had already started another series of standalone Realms adventures by the time "Doom of Daggerdale" was published; that was the "FRM" series of Forgotten Realms "Missions" modules. Yet the first and only adventure in that series was FRM1: "Jungles of Chult" (1993), which was published in May 1993.
Because TSR stopped using module codes in 1994, "Doom of Daggerdale" was the last Forgotten Realms adventure to have a code on it. It was also the last standalone adventure for the Realms for some years, since afterward TSR began concentrating once more on "event" trilogies. It was only three years later that another standalone Realms adventure finally appeared, when "How the Mighty are Fallen" was published in November 1996 - after which standalone adventures would become quite common again.
Sort of Introductory. Unlike the other adventures in the FRQ series, this one is written for starting adventurers, from levels 1-3. It isn't exactly an introductory adventure, but it is set in a well-described home base (Daggerdale), and it does include a half-dozen ideas for additional adventures at the end of the module. Particularly in conjunction with FRS1: The Dalelands (1993), it could easily form the basis of a new campaign.
It's All about the NPCs. Greenwood has always put the focus in the Realms on characters, and that also tends to be the case in Realms adventures by other hands, such as FRQ3. Here, the PCs will get to meet Randal Morn, the deposed leader of Daggerdale, on page 8 (once more: as requested!). Beyond that, many of the problems in the adventure are caused by a variety of NPCs - among them Eragyn the Dark, Colderan the Mage-Lord, and Constable Tren Noemfor.
Despite this focus on NPCs, the PCs are still clearly the main movers and shakers of this adventure.
Adventuring Tropes. "Doom of Daggerdale" is clearly an adventure of the 90s. It has a serious underlying plot, a few events, and (as already noted) a solid focus on the town of Dagger Falls.
That said, over half of the adventure is taken up with dungeons. This was somewhat rarer in the 90s, but Baur decided to include them because that's what he found fun in low-level adventures. The result works well; one of the delves is a particularly attractive combination of dungeons, caverns, tunnels, and streams. The Underdark even gets a mention because Baur had recently been working on other Underdark material!
Expanding the Realms. The Dalelands first became a viable setting for adventure with the publication of FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989), FRE1: "Shadowdale" (1989), and Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990). However, Daggerdale didn't receive the same attention as some parts of the Dalelands.
Curiously, Greenwood never mentioned Daggerdale in his many Dragon magazine articles from the 80s. It thus premiered in the the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1987), where it got a mere three paragraphs of coverage. It's called "a reclusive settlement" where, it's said, "No inns, hostels, or taverns exist in the land." Curiously, there's no mention in that first setting book of Daggerdale being taken over by Zhentil Keep; in fact, it's suggested that Morn still rules the land and is holding Zhentil Keep back - though there's an off-handed mention to Mourngrym Amcathra and Randal Morn "resisting Zhentil Keep" that could be taken otherwise. Similarly, Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990) talks about "the last resistance in Daggerdale."
The idea of Daggerdale being under the control of the Zhentarim, with Randal Morn leading the "freedom riders," seems to have originated with the release of the Revised Campaign Setting in 1993, though the invasion is backdated some 50 years. It becomes a major plot point from here through the mid-90s. That supplement also appears to be where Daggerdale's past as "Merrydale" was first mentioned.
After "Doom of Daggerdale" gave the eponymous Daleland more detail than had ever been available before, Daggerdale appeared again just a month later in The Dalelands, which includes three pages of description that match what's in this adventure. After that, Daggerdale would go on to become a recurring setting within the Realms throughout the 90s; its next major appearance would be in the adventure trilogy that begins with "The Sword of the Dales" (1995).
About the Creators. Baur joined TSR as an editor in 1991, and in 1992 and 1993 began designing as well. All of his other earliest design work was for Al-Qadim (1992-93).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.