Flame Publications originally advertised the Doomstones campaign as comprising five parts. The first four were published as Fire in the Mountains, Blood in Darkness, Death Rock and Dwarf Wars, but Flame closed before releasing a fifth adventure. Hogshead added a finale, Heart of Chaos, when it reprinted the campaign, but this was a new composition. What was the story of the campaign’s original conclusion?
Doomstones was originally adapted from the Complete Dungeon Master series. This was a generic fantasy campaign produced by an independent publisher, Integrated Games, between 1984 and 1987, with statistics for D&D/AD&D and RuneQuest. It comprised four parts, which correspond to the WFRP adventures as follows:
CDM1 The Halls of the Dwarven Kings: Dwarf Wars
CDM2 The Lost Shrine of Kasar-Khan: Blood in Darkness
CDM3 The Watchers of the Sacred Flame: Fire in the Mountains
CDM4 The Feathered Priests: Death Rock
There was also a fifth part planned in the campaign, CDM5 Deep Water – Shallow Graves, but this was never finished. Apparently a number of copies of the rough draft were sold by the authors. I have never seen a copy, but one of the authors did provide a short summary of it:
Plot very simple. Unlike the earlier scenarios you got the crystal right at the beginning, but then had to use it (in combination with the others) to fight your way out again.
As the name suggests, set under water (using water-breathing ability of crystal). Scenario starts with party rowing across a marsh to a mysterious leaning tower (on one of the earlier CDM artefacts maps) part submerged in marsh (in actual fact marsh was formed due to crystal attracting water long after tower built). En route attacked and swallowed (boat and all) by huge mutant creature that lairs in bottom of tower. Party have limited time/air before digested to find crystal and some other artefacts that have survived the stomach acid and hack way out of body to emerge in flooded cavern at bottom of tower. Tower now colonised by sahuagin, and basically a fairly linear trek up the tower to get out again, but with all the problems of moving/fighting/using magic underwater (even if you can breathe).
– Basil Barrett, Legion 7
However, it seems GW did not intend to use this adventure for Doomstones:
We were really excited about CDM5. We offered to develop for/sell the ideas to GW, but they just wanted material they could quickly convert to WFRP and get on the shelf.
– Basil Barrett, Legion 7
Instead, GW seems to have planned an original finale:
What would have been a fascinating development, if it had happened, was the Flame proposal for the Doomstones finale. The draft, written by Graeme Davis and Mike Brunton, was made available to Robin Laws, who wrote Heart of Chaos for Hogshead, and he has wisely borrowed some of the themes. There are so many parallels in fact that if I were to outline it in full I’d be giving players reading this article an unfair insight into what’s in store for them! Basically, though, it involves the players spending time in the Yetzin valley researching what to do with the crystals, before setting off to the Chaos Wastes in – you guessed it – a Dwarfen flying ship.
There are actually some excellent ideas sadly missed out of the Hogshead version. For example, there is a sort of “Battle of Four Armies”, where the two Dwarfen warring factions meet up with Rothnogg’s Bloodaxe Alliance survivors and a Chaos Horde from the Twisted lands. What a cool way to tie up those loose ends! Also there is an interesting meeting between the players and a Greater Demon of Nurgle, who, as an enemy of Tzeentch, is inclined to help them achieve their objectives.
– Toby Pilling, Warpstone 16
It is clear from this that an outline for the GW adventure was drawn up and was still in existence around 2001. It would be interesting to know if the original authors remember anything of it. Presumably it was never published because of GW’s general withdrawal from RPGs.
Title art by John Blanche. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.