Saturday, December 2, 2023

DA4: The Duchy of Ten

DA4 "The Duchy of Ten" (1987) by David Ritchie is a 48 page supplement, part D&D adventure/part campaign expansion for character levels 10-14.

Module DA4 "The Duchy of Ten" (1987) by David J. Ritchie.  Cover illustration by Clyde Caldwell, from Dungeon #2 (Nov/Dec 1986)

Creative Team:

DA4 "The Duchy of Ten" was the only DA series module not co-authored by Dave Arneson

David Ritchie received sole credit, although Ritchie's wife, editor Deborah C. Ritchie, was acknowledged with extra special thanks for her design of the Afridhi religion and culture.

Interior illustrations are by Dave Dorman, (apart from a piece by Jim Holloway on pg. 46)

The map of "The Northlands" is by Tom Darden, and was based on the First Fantasy Campaign Map from JG 37 "The First Fantasy Campaign" (1977).*

*additions to the version from DA1 were made, with a change in scale from 24 miles/hex to 12 miles/hex (as per the correction in DA2, pg. 12)

Design Origins:

According to Greg Svenson, the Afridhi were considered devil worshippers in the original Blackmoor campaign.

It's unclear whether Arneson was inspired by the Afridi, a Pashtun tribe in the Spin Ghar range west of Peshawar, covering most of the Khyber Pass and Maidan in Tirah.

As mentioned above, the Afridhi religion and culture as depicted in DA4 were conceived by Deborah Ritchie.

The Adventure:

The PCs are the only ones who can destroy a powerful artifact, the Well of Souls, to stop the Afridhi from conquering Blackmoor and altering the course of world history.

The adventure begins with a sea voyage to the town of Robinsport,* followed by an overland trek to the Forge at Tor Kurram, the location of the Well of Souls.

*a Chase Flow Chart is used for the town of Robinsport, a device previously used for the town of Akesoli in X10 "Red Arrow, Black Shield" (the chart is labeled, this time)

Geography of the West:

A ten-page section describing the lands west of Blackmoor, including the Duchy of Ten, the Plains of Hak, and the Empty Lands, along with detailed encounter tables.

New Monsters:

Brother of the Greenwood (Human), Dolphin,* Dragon Turtle,* Gakarak,** Gator Man,*** Grazer,**** Handmaiden of Death (Human), Hide Hunter (Human),**** Lava Lizard,***** Roper,****** Sister of Fire (Human), Skandaharian Raider (Human), Sollux (Sun Brother),******* Soul Eater********

*appearing in X7 "The War Rafts of Kron" and the D&D Companion Set
**from AC9 "Creature Catalogue"; DA3
***from AC9
****from DA3 "City of the Gods"
*****from B5 "Horror on the Hill"; AC9
******from XL-1 "Quest for the Heartstone"; AC9; DA3
*******from X2 "Castle Amber"; AC9
********from X5 "Temple of Death"; AC9

David Cook was acknowledged with special thanks for use of the soul eater, as were other contributors to the Creature Catalog for the dolphin, dragon turtle, gakarak, gator man, lava lizard, roper, and sollux (although neither the dolphin nor dragon turtle appeared in AC9).

Rogues, Regents, and Rascals:

A six-page section describes several notable NPCs.

Prerolled Characters:

The prerolled characters included in DA1 and DA2 are given more extensive bios:

Alphidia Alkot (M10), Axel Kars (F10), Bob Silverheels (H8, from the Five Shires), Gelon Melandil (E10, exiled from Alfheim), Gillam Khandum (D10, from the mountains of northern Glantri), Ismelian Sotadis (E10, from Alfheim), Jareel Takis (C11), Kokra the Touch (T11, from Ylaruam, a near relative of the Emir Hinbul II), Newton Depoe (M11), Purda Blue (F11), Sean Boldfinger (T10), Thern Mor (C10, rumored to be from Thyatis)

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