N3: Destiny of Kings (1986)

N3: Destiny of Kings (1986) is another curious entry into the N-series modules. First, like N2, this appeared two long years after its predecessor. Second is probably that cover, which presumably depicts the death of the king, the event that launches the module’s plot. Except in the module, the king is killed by misfired arrow during a hunt rather than whatever tumble is depicted here — the window is smash, so it seems like the trouble came from outside, but, ugh, I dunno. I generally love Parkinson and the ghost face is cool but this isn’t a great cover painting, I don’t think (I keep thinking of Fafhrd’s time worshiping Issek of the Jug…).

The players are enlisted to find the missing heir by tracing his journeys. There are political plots and such (the king was assassinated) and it all hangs together loosely. It is a bit too generic for my taste — I find it hard to care about any of these characters or their problems (contrast that with, say, Enemy Within, where everyone you cross paths with is deeply interesting). There are no dungeons either, which is fine, but makes this feel kind of aimless. I guess, mostly, I don’t think high intrigues of the courts of kings make good fodder for low level D&D modules aimed at novices. I have no idea why this is one of the classic modules to get a reprint in 1998, when Wizards of the Coast was trying to milk their investment.

But honestly, first impressions; that cover kind of soured me from the start.

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