The "Dark Legacy of Evard" Encounters season begins on May 11. Here's some background info for those of you who'd like a preview of what to expect when you show up for the kickoff session.
The action begins in Duponde, a town of about 1,000 inhabitants on the banks of the White River, a few days’ travel north of Harkenwold. You arrive there as couriers carrying correspondence from Fallcrest to the city of Sarthel. Duponde is just a brief stopover on your journey.
Duponde may look like nothing more than a sleepy little town along the broad banks of the River. But the village harbors a dark secret: The tomb of the notorious Evard the Black, master of shadow magic, lies in the town’s cemetery.
Large areas within the crumbling walls of Duponde have been abandoned in the last hundred years, especially in the southern half of the town. Heavy undergrowth and trees grow in and among the dilapidated houses.
1) Walls, Gates, and Roads: A 12-foot wall of fieldstone encloses Duponde, and a rickety wooden walk lines the inside for defenders to fire over the wall top. The walls are in bad shape, with countless gaps. A guard normally attends each of the three gates. Roads lead north, south, and west from the town. A pair of ancient bridges leads east, continuing the King’s Road, but they were destroyed in recent flooding.
Various locales—such as the Vistani farmhouse, the forgotten manor, and the old monastery—stand within a few hours of Duponde.
2) The Old Owl Inn: The Old Owl Inn stands near the town’s North Gate, a large yard surrounding it. This location is where the characters are staying during the adventure. The Old Owl Inn is operated by Tilda, who employs several cooks, barkeeps, and stable hands.
3) Chapel of Peace: The Chapel of Peace is not far from the Old Owl Inn. Brother Zelan and two young acolytes maintain this rundown shrine. Zelan is an old, fat, stubborn Pelorite with a blustering manner, but he’s wiser than he lets on.
4) General Store: The General Store is down the street from the Old Owl Inn, near the Town Courtyard. It is operated by a grumpy dwarf named Krugan. He has standard adventuring gear for sale, as well as common magic items. He is cranky, because a band of tieflings have recently been intercepting caravans bringing goods to his store.
5) Town Square: The Town Square is normally a meeting place for the residents of Duponde.
6) Town Armory: The armory sits near the Town Square, alongside several aqueducts that bring water from the river. Marshal Grimbold’s offices are here.
7) Graveyard: There is a large cemetery in the western end of the town. The graveyard is where Evard’s Tomb stands. Many years ago, Evard came to Duponde to destroy his rival Vontarin, a powerful wizard who lived in a manor at the edge of town. The two mages met near the walls of the abbey of St. Avarthil and dueled all night long with black spells, laying the old monastery in ruins with their magic. In the morning the surviving friars found Evard dead in the wreckage, and buried him here in the town’s graveyard. Vontarin was never seen again.
8) Lady’s House: A large hilltop manor in the middle of town is home to Lady Celice Arnaud, hereditary ruler of Duponde. Lady Arnaud is a soft-spoken human woman of sixty who keeps four watchmen and a handful of servants and clerks in attendance. Duponde’s guards answer to her, but Lady Arnaud allows Grimbold to manage the town’s defenses.
Now, almost fifty years after Evard’s death, his final curse is about to descend on the town and everyone within it.
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