Your cousin Rolph is dead - and while there is cause for sadness, there is also cause for celebration. As his heir, you were willed his dominion: Fenhold.
Of course, the Deep Swamp is threatening to engulf all of your new holding. People are seeing ghosts and disappearing mysteriously. Animals die without reason, and crops are suddenly blighted. The farmers don't like the swampdwellers, the swampdwellers don't like the farmers, and no one likes the halflings. The entire civil service of the dominion seems to have either worked for the failure of the dominion or resigned due to actions of the others.
It's going to be tough task to make all this ship-shape once again, but you're 15th level now. Isn't it about time you settled down?
For characters level 15 to 19.
CM9: "Legacy of Blood" (1987), by Steve Perrin and Katharine Kerr, is the ninth adventure in the Companion-level series for Basic D&D. It was published toward the latter half of 1987.
Supporting the Companion Rules. As with many of the Companion-level adventures, this one focuses on the dominion rules. It makes particularly heavy use of the "Confidence Level" mechanic, giving players the opportunity to increase or decrease it through play.
Like CM1: "Test of the Warlords" (1984) and CM2: "Death's Ride" (1984), "Legacy of Blood" presumes that the players don't already have a dominion of their own and gives them a new one with problems all its own.
The Final Companion Adventure. "Legacy of Blood" was published the same year as GAZ1: "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" (1987). The GAZ series marked a sea change in Basic D&D's product line that shifted it from adventures to sourcebooks. As a result, the "X," "CM," "IM," and "DA" adventure lines all came to an end in 1987; "Legacy of Blood" was thus the last adventure ever for Companion-level Basic D&D characters.
Filling out a Dominion. Perhaps more than any other Companion-level adventure, "Legacy of Blood" shows the richness that can be found in a single dominion. As the authors say, it's "an example of how a small area may be developed in detail to provide many opportunities for role playing." Thus, the adventure largely focuses on the exploration of the dominion and the problems that arise from its ownership. The adventure even ends with a list of further story hooks to fill out a campaign.
Put all that together, and you have a great recipe for an introductory adventure, which was surely the adventure's point: Players take on a dominion, learn about the Companion-level dominion rules, and develop their dominion for continued play. Thus, in the end, the Companion Rules had three introductory entry points, the others being the aforementioned CM1 and CM2.
Expanding the Known World. The new dominion introduced in this adventure is Fenhold. Unlike the rest of the Companion adventures (which introduced plenty of other dominions), "Legacy of Blood" places its new dominion in the area detailed in the Expert Rules Set (1981, 1983) rather than in Norwold. We can surmise that this was due to the publication that same year of the GAZ supplements, which focused on the same broad region.
Fenhold is described as a colony of the Republic of Darokin that lies near to the borders of Alfheim. Darokin had previously received some attention in X10: "Red Arrow, Black Shield" (1985). It would get some more detailed attention in the next few years in GAZ5: "The Elves of Alfheim" (1988) and GAZ11: "The Republic of Darokin" (1989). Unfortunately, the map placement of Fenhold in "Legacy of Blood" isn't consistent with maps in "The Republic of Darokin."
A Tale of Two Authors. Katharine Kerr was the original author of "Legacy of Blood," but had to set the project aside when she was diagnosed with an illness. Steve Perrin was thus brought in, and conveniently they could talk directly with one another about the project, as they were local to each other. Kerr outlined the project and had written some of the first chapter; Perrin filled in the rest, adding a few things to meet the word count requirements.
About the Creators. In 1987, Steve Perrin was writing products for Chaosium, Hero Games, and TSR. His other major TSR work that year was N5: "Under Illefarn" (1987), the first Forgotten Realms adventure. This was Katherine Kerr's only major publication for TSR, though she wrote quite a bit for Dragon from 1981-87. She's better known as the author of the "Deverry cycle" novels that began with Daggerspell (1986).
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.