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Classic Modules Today: The Shattered Circle (5e)
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Classic Modules Today: The Shattered Circle (5e)

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From time out of mind, the standing stones known as the Circle of Cahervaniel have stood lonely vigil on a grassy hilltop. Sheepherders once moved their flocks over the hill and through the circle, sometimes resting in the cool shadows cast by the ancient stones. Everything changed when a stone finger fell, revealing a fissure in the earth.

Now, dark shadows caress the circle after the sun sets. Creatures out of nightmare dance upon the hillside at night. Many swear that a unicorn of deepest ebony now hunts all upon two legs who draw near, while stunted creatures scurry in the shadows, abducting sheep from their sheds and drawing them down below ground for food.

After the disappearance of a sheperd, fear grows stronger in neighboring villages. Who will brave the black hollow of the ancient Circle of Cahervaniel? Heroes of stern mettle must descend into the cavity and explore the ancient spaces existing there. 

Product History

"The Shattered Circle" (1999), by Bruce R. Cordell, is a generic adventure for AD&D 2e. It was published in January 1999.

Origins: Another Generic. After Wizards of the Coast began publishing D&D, their first year and a half of generic adventures were all classic revivals: returns to RPGA tournaments, to classic adventures, and to Dungeon scenarios. Even "A Paladin in Hell" (1998) was a return in its own way, to the demons and devils that TSR had become afraid of. Wizards was staking out new ground by reclaiming the past. "The Shattered Circle" (1999) was the first generic Wizards adventure that was simply a generic adventure, with no deeper origins and no hidden motives.

Artifacts of Note. the foundingstone and the harp Euphonious are both one-off named magic items. However, it's sword Icerazor that's the most interesting. It's said to have grown from a shard of Frostrazor — a sword that would only appear ten months later in Return to White Plume Mountain (1999). There, it's listed as one of Keraptis' four implements of power, alongside Wave, Blackrazor, and Whelm — meaning that Icerazor (and this adventure) are just one step removed from White Plume Mountain itself.

Monsters of Note: Chitine. It's somewhat curious, given the Greyhawk and Neverness connections, to note that the chitine debuted in MC11: "Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix" (1991). The spider-humanoids have generally been a Realms creature, featuring in bestiaries and histories for that setting. However, they also received a more generic "Ecology of the Chitine" in Dragon #223 (November 1995), which introduced the choldrith, or chitine priestess. This is their major adventure appearance.

When asked about pronouncing their name Cordell says that he "can't be 100% sure of the original designer's pronunciation", but he prefers "KI-TEEN".

About the Creators. By 1999, Cordell was one of D&D's most prolific writers. He'd previously authored many slightly related adventures, such as The Gates of Firestorm Peak(1996) and the sahuagin (1997) and illithid (1998) Monstrous Arcana adventure trilogies.

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.


This conversion guide allows DMs to run the original module with 5th Edition rules.

To use this conversion guide you will need a copy of The Shattered Circle, originally available in hard-copy and now for sale in Digital format here.

Visit Classicmodulestoday.com for instructions on creating your own classic module conversions and selling them on the DMs Guild.

 
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Clark T October 02, 2017 11:06 pm UTC
How many pages does this conversion have?
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robert D October 03, 2017 8:31 pm UTC
CREATOR
12, not counting the cover.
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