Two centuries ago, the last king of the celtic kingdom of Pellham was deposed in favor of a High Council. Now, however, things are going badly, and a restless populace longs for the days of the ancient kingship. The High Council is floundering -- and the political situation is turning ugly.
It was then that the Brothers of Brie, an obscure monastic order, discovered a long-forgotten prophecy. In Pellham's time of greatest need, a long-dead king will rise to restore order. You have been chosen to prove that this is the time of the prophecy. You will take the first steps toward returning the lost king to the throne.
This adventure contains the first four rounds of the AD&D Open Tournament that was originally run at the Gen Con XVI Convention. It includes a tournament scoring system and a team of 10 characters of levels 4-7.
This adventure can be played alone or as the first part of the two-part Prophecy of Brie series.
This adventure is for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons gaming system and cannot be played without the AD&D rules.
C4: "To Find a King" (1985), by Bob Blake, is the fourth competition adventure and the first one to be prepared by the RPGA. It's also the first part of a two-part series. It was released in January 1985.
The RPGA Adventures. Frank Mentzer founded the RPGA in 1980, and afterward that organization took over running the major AD&D tournaments, freeing up the Design department at TSR, who'd previously created the tournament adventures. In 1982, TSR started preparing the RPGA's tournaments for publication. However, where TSR had previously published tournaments for the mass market, the new RPGA tournaments were instead sold exclusively to members of the RPGA. Frank Mentzer's Aquaria tournaments, which had been run at three different Gen Cons in 1981, were published as R1 ("To the Aid of Falx") through R4 ("Doc's Island"), 1982-83. Then Tracy and Laura Hickman's "Rahasia" series, which was (apparently) also run at Gen Con at some point, appeared as RPGA1: "Rahasia" and RPGA2: "Black Opal Eye" (1983).
This brings us to The Prophecy of Brie, Bob Blake's massive eight-part tournament, run at Gen Con XVI (1983). TSR released the first half of it as two adventures: RPGA3: "The Forgotten King" (1983) and RPGA4: "The Elixir of Life" (1983). Yet the "Powers that Be" at TSR (which probably means the Blume brothers) decided to stop producing exclusive modules for the RPGA. By this point, the remaining half of the tournament was already in almost-finished form, so the RPGA decided to publish it in their newsletter, Polyhedron. It appeared in four parts, from issue #16 (1984) to #19 (1984), which were labeled "RPGA5" through "RPGA8." Thus, the Prophecy of Brie was completed, though possibly not in the form that everyone had hoped.
Onward to Competition. Somewhere along the way, some bright soul at TSR realized that if the RPGA adventures weren't being published exclusively for the RPGA any more, they could be used elsewhere. Thus TSR was able to take the hard work already spent on The Prophecy of Brie, and turn it into a pair of mass-market adventures. "The Forgotten King" and "The Elixir of Life," combined, became "To Find a King," the first of the pair.
Recurring Tropes. Though the adventures in C4 are metaplot heavy - centering on bringing an ancient king back to life - the actual adventures are fairly staid for the time. Each one is a simple "fetch quest," where the players must recover a certain object. The adventure areas are wilderness heavy, but also feature a manor and some underground areas. They also feature riddles and other simple puzzles. Overall, the adventures probably offer a good picture of what tournaments looked like in 1983.
Like C3: "The Lost Island of Castanimir" (1984), "To Find a King" has fairly abstract scoring, very different from the list of good or bad things to do in the earliest competition adventures.
The Adventure Continues. The other half of the The Prophecy of Brie was collected in C5: "The Bane of Llywelyn" (1985), just a month later.
Super-Secret Miniatures. TSR also released an RPGA-exclusive "Prophecy of Brie" miniatures set, which contains the 10 tournament characters and 2 of the villains.
No Munsters. The Prophecy of Brie doesn't have anything to do with cheese.
About the Creators. Bob Blake, the author of "To Find a King," is the creator of the modern D&D tournament. He ran his first major competition at GenCon IX (1976), where he offered up a three-day multi-round multi-GM tournament, with each game played by small groups of five players, who were scored throughout play for achieving the tournament's goals, killing monsters, solving traps, and more. Not only was this the model that would later be used for all of the major D&D tournaments, but TSR even copied another of Blake's ideas - selling the adventure after the tournament was done - when they began publishing adventures of their own in 1978.
Other than mail order sales of his tournaments, Blake hadn't been published much prior to the release of "To Find a King." He'd written a few articles about tournaments for The Dragon (1976, 1978) and had contributed his GenCon X (1977) dungeon to Judges Guild's Of Skulls and Scrapfaggot Green (1979).
Blake also helped at least two future TSR employees on their way. Blake gamed with future editor and researcher Jon Pickens in college, acting as a "dealer" who'd buy several copies of new D&D books and resell them to other members of the college's gaming club. Years later, Blake was assisted by Jeff Grubb in the organization of the AD&D Open at Gen Con - probably in 1981 - and afterward put him in charge of the AD&D Open at Gen Con XV (1982); Grubb's work on that tournament led directly to his position with TSR as a designer.
About the Product Historian
This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, 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.