Welcome to the picturesque village of Eveningstar, nestled at the foot of the Stonelands where the River Starwater winds down a gorge and snakes into the King's Forest.
Here, the Knights of Myth Drannor began their famous adventures. Here, the Ladies of the Brazen Blade, The Company of the Singing Sword, The Steel Shield Band, and many other came, clutching royal charters from King Azoun with the ink scarcely dry on the parchment. Some fell, some went on to greatness- -- but they all came here first: here, to the Haunted Halls.
Haunted Halls of Eveningstar was an adventure module for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, set in the Forgotten Realms campaign world. This module was written by the creator of the realms himself, Ed Greenwood (while Erik Olson, Valerie Valusek, and "Diesel" handled the artwork and maps). The adventure was originally published in 1992 (ISBN # 1-56076-325-6, TSR product number 9354), and has subsequently been republished in pdf format and is available at the Wizards Online Store for $5. It is also theoretically available on the gnutella network, (in theory the search string "TSR9354" would find it, but don't ask me because I have no knowledge of such things).
The module begins with an overview of the town of Eveningstar itself. It is a small quiet village with a population of around 400. Most of the locals are farmers, and they provide food for themselves, and manage to export a decent amount of produce to the rest of Cormyr. Notable sights around the town include "The Lonesome Tankard Inn" and a temple dedicated to "Lathander".
The town is run by "Lord Tessaril Winter", a tall slim blond woman who was an adventure in her younger days. She is skilled as both a mage and as a warrior, and watches over her town like a mother cat (with the help of a cat oddly enough). Tessaril's familiar is a winged cat (a "Tressym"), who has human intelligence and is hopelessly devoted to her. Tessaril's cat has saved her life on several occasions. In person Tessaril is soft spoken, easy going, and fond of children, but she can be a deadly combatant if angered.
The town information makes for great reading, but unfortunately it makes heavy reference to areas outside the general Eveningstar area. It would require a bit of adaptation to use outside of the Forgotten Realms setting.
The module goes on to describe a few areas outside of town, but without fully fleshing them out. Leaving plenty of room for the gamemaster to come up with his own adventures for those areas. Some of the areas mentioned are "The Stonelands" (a large area of broken ground said to harbor many monsters) and "Starwater Gorge" (an area that holds a dangerous abandoned fortress that many people think is the famous "Halls of Eveningstar").
This section of the module is quite usable in any campaign. The only real adaptation required is to substitute a reference to "The Red Wizards of Thay" to some other group of evil wizards that live in your world (or simply drop it altogether, as it isn't that important).
The Haunted Halls themselves are the showpiece of the module, and should drop into any campaign world easily (even if you were unable to use the town itself). Greenwood is one of the best "Dungeon Masters" in the world, and it shows in the design of the halls.
This is one of those modules that is light on combat, but very heavy on traps and exploration. As a matter of fact there are only 22 monsters in the whole module (a full eight of which are kobolds who are encountered together). Players who like to rush from room to room looking for monsters are not going to have the best time with this adventure. But on the flip side of things, players who search everywhere, and examine everything, will be well rewarded, as there are lots of hidden goodies to find. The lack of large monster populations makes this module suitable for players of almost any level, although first level players will probably perish from the traps.
The module only details the first level of the ruins, but it indicates exactly where the game master can expand the scenario.
What is good about this module.
The room descriptions are fantastic. Ed Greenwood is hands down the number one man for writing up dungeons. Not only do the halls feel real, you get the distinct impression that what you are reading is the result of many adventures in the halls in Ed's own campaign.
The treasures in this module are well hidden. So many designers just leave things laying around in plain sight, but not Ed Greenwood. You want the 1000 GP sapphire? Then you are going to have to look inside the hollow boot of a dead man. In most other modules I would complain about the sheer amount of magic items to be found (even this one has a ton of them), but the players will be lucky to find even ten percent of them, and certainly won't be waltzing out with all of them.
What is bad about this module
Like all Forgotten Realms modules this one is intimately connected to the realms, and is difficult to separate. My other main complaint is that this product can't decide if it is a module or a campaign sourcebook, and at only 32 pages, it should have made that decision early on. Instead the first half reads like a campaign book and the second half reads like a module.
Then there is the dungeon map. This is just a minor quibble really. But the map shows about 70 rooms, but only has numbered encounters for 32 rooms. No big deal, but the module doesn't tell you if those rooms are supposed to be empty, or if you are supposed to fill them (I have seen Forgotten Realms products that went both ways).
My overall impression
I think this is a great product, but it does require a little preparation on the gamemasters part. If played as is (without expansion) it is one of the few published Forgotten Realms modules I have seen that can be played through in a single setting.