Dungeon Module FRQ2
Hordes of Dragonspear


by William W. Connors






C. Terry Phillips





Cover Art:

Doug Chaffee




Interior Art:

Arnie Swekel





Steve Beck





Gaye O’Keefe





Paul Hanchette






A very exciting game that throws together a bunch of the neatest elements of the AD&D and lets the heroes rip at the helm of their very own army.  A lot of exposition in this module makes the DM earn his keep before the game can be run, but after a lot of effort is put into preparing for play this one is highly memorable.  It is one of the few places where PCs not only get to do battle with a pit fiend, but they get to do it in front of an army of awed soldiers, after wading through a horde of humanoids, and probably with a dragon covering their rears!  One of the most riveting conclusions a war-scenario could have.

Realm Rating: 3.5/5






Designed by Ray Dyer (flopsyville@earthlink.net)
Reviewed by Susan McKinney (smckin@LTnet.ltls.org)

Rating: 9

Some evil force is rallying the humanoids against the Way Inn and Daggerford.  You are asked to command the army repelling the invasion.  Nice group icons for the battles.  Find the source of the invasion and destroy it.


Review: Game16: FRQ2, Hordes of Dragonspear, by Ray & Maureen.


I've been a devotee of Ray's Realm designs for several years now, having discovered them just after his completion and uploading of the Eastlands campaign, and have run three parties – on four different computers! - through the Eastlands, Westlands, and Southlands.  However, I've never had a party experienced enough to tackle the

Northlands – until now.


"Dragonspear" is the first adventure set in the "Final Diamond" campaign, the last chapter of the Realms saga – and what an adventure it is. I was a player when my group ran the original P&P version of this mod, and have fond memories of it – my first experience of Battlesystem rules. I wondered how Ray would produce the huge battles involved without slowing the game to a crawl, but by clever use of 4x4 "unit" icons, simulating whole groups of monsters and soldiers, this was pulled off admirably. I'll break down the good bits:-


Music: wonderful choices here, from the martial theme (really gets the blood pumping!), to the mediaeval pieces – familiar to me, as I'm an early music buff; I particularly liked "the Three Ravens" – which set the period very well. Music sets the scene in any game, and these do so admirably.


Icons: the above-mentioned "units" are, as noted, clever and attractive – the artwork used within them is very good, and they work well, giving the appearance of a "cast of thousands". Even the fact that they are difficult to move around (being 2x2 in size) is appropriate, since an army can't move about as easily as an individual party, and simulates army units excellently. The demon-icons are well detailed, and really rather scary. I nearly missed the "enemy hero" icons in battle – too busy chucking fireballs to look – but they were effective, too (incidentally, Ray, does enemy morale drop once the "hero" is slain? If not – and if it were possible to do – this would be a good impetus to fight through the crowd to reach them!). The only possible "bum" note for me was the goofy grins on the faces of the Fomorian Giants – but then, no-one ever said the Fomor were smart, and the Giants themselves were physically imposing.


Daggerford: considering the limited period of time one spends in this city, it's remarkably detailed – and true to the original map (yes, I have the original mod – I made a point of acquiring all of the mods the Realm is based on, in case I miss something – but I only cheated once, see below). There are interesting interactions wherever you go, and enough time is given to explore thoroughly before you are whisked off to the next bit. All cities should be this evocative.


(While I'm on the subject of set pieces, the following also stand out for me:- the river journey; the labyrinth; and the battles themselves. There, that's vague enough…;-))


Battles: Not many, but whoa! They're good. Two main ones, broken into two or three "waves" – which was both a good way not to overwhelm the party, and to encourage the player not to blow all his area-effect spells on the first fight he comes across! 


Nitpicking: two things only, both of which are more to do with the source material – or with me - than the module.


1.             The mod is fairly linear – good use of "tours" and pointers so one doesn't get bogged down, but it does feel like one is shepherded through the piece. However, this stays true to the original (and I can't see any other way to do it!).

2.            The Labyrinth. This is absolutely faithful to the original – I know, I looked (shame on me). As Ray says in the .txt file, this one item can double playing time, as it's a complex maze, but unfortunately the walls and floors were just a little too "grey" for me to see where I was going at times. The monsters encountered therein were varied and interesting, with excellent icons used, but the maze itself was frustrating for me, and would have been impossible if I hadn't used the pen-and-paper map to tell me where I was. If I might make a suggestion; could there be a copy of the map (in a separate help file) included with the mod? Players still have to track their route, but at least they won't get hopelessly lost, like my idiot party did.


Conclusion: Another superb Realm adventure. I really felt like I'd achieved something once I beat the bad guys; and I swear I could actually hear the cheers from my army. Anyone thinking of doing massive-scale battles would do well to play through this mod to see how they're done. Bravo, Realm-meister!


All of the preceding modules and game worlds are trademarked property of TSR Inc, which is now the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. I take no credit for the stories or ideas presented here, I merely converted them to a playable format for SSI's Unlimited Adventures game.