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Hail the Heroes (2e)
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Hail the Heroes (2e)

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Long ago, a great king fell in battle and became an immortal hero. The king's devoted followers built a temple to house his magical shield. Time and dust buried the temple, and the relic was forgotten - until now. Can you win a thrilling race against rival factions to locate the temple? Can you survive the journey through its treacherous halls to gain the shield? Mystara's secret history will be revealed to those who succeed!

Audio components not included.

Product History

"Hail the Heroes" (1994), by Tim Beach, is the first adventure for the AD&D Mystara line. It was published in October 1994.

About the Cover. The pages of the book held by the dragon on the cover match the layout style of the Mystara line. Note the borders to left and right and the big inset box starting the chapter.

Origins: Return to Karameikos. TSR's new Mystara line was designed with two publication tiers. So, following the release of Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure (1994), TSR produced a pair of adventures to support the new locale.

Each of the adventures would be low-level to encourage the new players that TSR was courting with their Mystara line and each would also feature the Audio CDs that had debuted in First Quest (1994) and Karameikos.

The Media Tie-In. TSR supported their late Mystaran lines with novels, and "Hail the Heroes" marked one of the most aggressive attempts to tie those novels in to the roleplaying line: it was advertised as a direct tie-in to Dragonlord of Mystara (1994), the first novel in the Dragonlord Chronicles trilogy (1994-1996).

Dragonlord was a historical novel, set around 500 AC. "Hail the Heroes" linked to it by promising to reveal "part of the secret history" of Dragonlord; the MacGuffin artifact that would be the heart of the "Hail the Heroes" quest was once held by one of the companions of Thelvyn, the hero of Dragonlord. Amusingly, the adventure ends with the players also stumbling across the history of the Dragonlord of Mystara; the adventure then cheekily suggests that the GM "hand this novel to [their] players when their characters take the book."

However, that's not the only media tie-in found in "Hail the Heroes". A tie-in to a different novel is found in Clue 7 in Mirros, with more information on Track 19 of the Audio CD. A volume called The Dragon's Tomb "tells the tale of a magical sword and an epic battle". This is obviously a reference to Mystara's previous fiction trilogy, the Penhaligon Trilogy (1992-1993), the second book of which was indeed named The Dragon's Tomb (1993).

The surprising thing about this tie-in is that "Hail the Heroes" tries to decanonize the whole Penhaligon Trilogy. It complains about an inaccurate depiction of Threshold as a village and says, "Since the date of the manuscript is not given, it is difficult to tell whether the author was writing entertaining fiction without a real basis in fact or if the adventure simply took place before Threshold grew to its present size."

Audio Tropes. Like its predecessors, this adventure uses the Audio CD to support the gameplay. For the most part, certain tracks are played when the players reach certain encounters. One big change from the previous volumes is that the Audio CD no longer tries to voice the player characters. There are also a few additional types of audio cues: Listening Tracks (for when players explicitly listen), Event Tracks (for when certain things happen), and a Background Track (to be played the rest of the time!).

Adventure Tropes. "Hail the Heroes" is standard MacGuffin Quest with opposition: the players must find the Shield of Halav before their opponents. It's a relatively open adventure, starting with investigation and ending with a dungeon crawl.

Exploring Mystara. "Hail the Heroes" is set in and about two cities of Karameikos: Mirros and Threshold. There's some nice details on the former and a nice map of the latter.

Blowing Up the Canon. So does "Hail the Heroes" really decanonize the Penhaligon Trilogy? The best argument against that is "Escape from Thunder Rift", the adventure in the DMR1: Dungeon Master Screen (1993). It directly links to the Penhaligon Trilogy and suggests it's located in the modern-day. A few other Mystaran references clearly link the trilogy to the modern day as well.

So, consider the Dragon's Tomb commentary in "Hail the Heroes" a snarky aside. And it's not like village and city sizes were ever consistent in the known world, considering the changes from the early B/X era (1981+) to the GAZ era (1987+).

Artifacts of Note. The whole adventure centers around a new Known World relic, the Shield of Halav.

Organizations of Note. The adventure is all about the interactions between three Karameikos religious organizations: the Church of Traladara, the Order of the Griffon, and the Cult of Halav. These are all classic Karameikos organizations, found in both GAZ1: "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" (1987) and Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure.

About the Creators. Beach wrote for TSR throughout the first half of the '90s. 1995 was a busy year, which also saw him working for the Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, and Planescape lines.

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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October 23rd, 2005
A wonderful classic adventure. I had a lot of fond memories of this adventure so I had to get it. If you love mystara don't hesitate, GET IT!<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: That all the pages were there and the scan quality was decent. [...]
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Product Information
Author(s)
Rule System(s)
Pages
36
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2502
File Size:
32.85 MB
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File Last Updated:
May 21, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on May 23, 2017.