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CM8 The Endless Stair (Basic)

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Description:

The Great Mage Cheiromar, known as Aglahund the Mighty, is said to be buried under the Leaning Stone atop Galzar's Crag. One of his apprentices, Ulthorn, has been discovered dead in an aperture of the Leaning Stone - a doorway that locals swear has never been there before!

You must discover how Ulthorn died and the mystery of the Leaning Stone. In the process, you may find yourself at the Endless Stair. Those who never climbed it say is seems to lead nowhere. Those who did never lived to tell of it.

Will you dare ascend into the unknown?

*****

Product History

CM8: "The Endless Stair" (1987), by Ed Greenwood, is the eighth adventure in the Companion-level series for Basic D&D. It was published in May 1987.

Not Quite the Forgotten Realms. "The Endless Stair" was published just a month before the appearance of the first Forgotten Realms products: Douglas Niles' Darkwalker on Moonshae novel (1987) and the compiled I3-5: "Desert of Desolation" (1987) adventure. CM8 was published just two months before Ed Greenwood's first Forgotten Realms' release: the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set(1987)

"The Endless Stair" was intended to teach Greenwood how to write D&D modules. It also may have been designed to get Greenwood's name out before his pivotal Campaign Setting appeared. After "The Endless Stair," most of Greenwood's future effort would go to the Realms, so "The Endless Stair" would be just one of two supplements that Greenwood would write for Mystara, the other being GAZ8: "The Five Shires" (1988).
Although "The Endless Stair" isn't actually set in the Realms, it shares some of the same design ideas that Greenwood uses in his own setting. Most notably, Greenwood has said that people are the heart of the Realms, and that seems to be the case for "The Endless Stair" too, which is full of NPCs. The adventures starts out by peopling an inn with more than 30 people; then, over the course of the adventure, various NPCs vie with the PCs for lost treasure. There's even an organization of the type you could find in the Realms, "Those Who Watch." Finally, the idea of a Stairway climbing up out of the wilderness toward a "Seat of Power" was swiped for use as the Celestial Stairway that shows up in the Forgotten Realms' "Avatar" trilogy (1989).

A Very Unusual Companion Adventure. Much like CM2: "Death's Ride" (1984), "The Endless Stair" feels more like a high-powered Expert-level adventure than a Companion adventure. There's no mention of dominions or politics. Instead the adventure actually starts in an inn! The players then engage in some wilderness adventuring (though at a very small scale, with hexes covering just 100 yards each), after which they encounter some high-level dungeons.

The adventure isn't even set in the typical Companion setting of Norwold!

Expanding the Known World. Unlike the vast majority of the Basic D&D adventures, this one doesn't have a strong basis in the Known World. In fact, it's set up to be easily introduced at any place and any time. That said, the adventure does offer a "recommended" location in the Known World: "on a road somewhere in the Principalities of Glantri, at least four days' ride from Glantri City."

If that locale is considered canon, then this adventure adds a tiny bit of detail to Glantri, including the Daelzun's Rest inn and Galzar's Crag. That information could be used in conjunction with the setting material in GAZ3: "The Principalities of Glantri" (1987), released several months later, and the adventuring material in X2: "Castle Amber" (1981); the original edition of B3: "Palace of the Silver Princess" (1981); and "The Fountain of Health," an adventure in Dungeon #39 (January/February 1993).

Some Mystaran fans have suggested that the adventure might fit better in Alphatia because of its high level of magic - and that would also link it better to the Norwold setting used for the rest of the Companion adventures.

About the Creators. Ed Greenwood had been writing articles for Dragon since 1979, but 1987 saw his first book-length RPG publications: "The Endless Stair," the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, and FR1: "Waterdeep and the North" (1987).

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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Product Information
Author(s)
Artist(s)
Pages
32
Edition
1.0
ISBN
0-88038-390-9
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9192
File Size:
13.43 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 01, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on August 20, 2013.
Publisher Info
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast
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