This module was originally generically set, but later in 2000 it was adopted into the Greyhawk Campaign setting in Living Greyhawk Journal #01, "Some years ago, however, the notorious wizard Baltron of Linth was banished by the Throne of the Lion to the marshes(...) A magical catastrophe that later destroyed the mage resulted in the eerie glowing green beacon'(p.19)
The keep and it's history was expanded further into Greyhawk lore in Dragon Magazine #304, Places of Mystery, 'The Hool Beacon'(p.90)
This module suggests the use of Unearthed Arcana for spells found in spellbooks(p.28).
"A strangely delivered advertisement has led you to a sage named Demetrios. He needs a rare component to complete a desperately needed potion. The journey to retrieve it will take you through a large, unexplored swamp to a ruined keep, the former headquarters of a vile cult that once claimed the lives of many innocent youths.
You cautiously accept the mission. But who knows what monsters lurk in the vast marsh? Are the old ruins occupied, perhaps by things even more dangerous than the previous residents? Beware, for the eerie green light shining upward from the central tower, the beacon that guides your way, may attract others as well. To succeed, you must penetrate the keep and find a unique Black Flame worshipped by the old cult. Could those evil ones be lurking about still? You will know soon...
To solve the mysteries of Baltron's Beacon, the characters must excel in handling wilderness, building ruins, traps, puzzles, and new monsters. This adventure, originally designed for tournament use, is now available for your own campaign."
- James Roslof: Vampire Mist(p3), Vitiolus(p.3), Demetrios(p.5), Antarcus Giantbane(p.9), Illustration 1 (p.14), Illustration 2(p.14), Karis Sunpriest(p.17), Rayche Firebrand(p.17), Krondar Hammerhand(p.17), Deric Blackstone(p.17), Nicholas Mysticus(p.18), Lintra Silverleaf(p.18), Slu Tippy(p.18), Alberish Delversson(p.18), Illustration 3(p.19), Illustration 4(p.19), Illustration 5(p.20), Illustration 6(p.20), Vampire Mists and Vitriolus(p.24), Hall of the Gorgon(p.26), Underground Pool(p.30-31)
Vampire mist and vitriolus on page 3 are cropped images from the full image on page 24. All the character protraits on pages 17 to 18 are from the 'Underground pool' image.
- Demetrios- quest giver and eccentric sage. Demetrios has developed a potion that can put out the Black Flame, but requires part of it's components to have been burnt by the black flame to work. (p.2-5,32). Demetrios may be over a hundred years old, as he describes his son being lost to the cult that occupied the keep a century prior.
- Baltron (Baltronus Zemnus of Linth)- a 16th level magic user, who inhabited the keep a year before the module starts, and was destroyed in an attempt to summon the spirit of the swamp,Nakimas. This created the beacon(p.2). Dragon Magazine #304 states that Baltron first entered the keep 20 years ago (about 571CY) and was seeking the lost magic of the Suel House of Malhel in the Dreadwood(p.90), while Living Greyhawk Journal #01 states that Baltron was banished only a few years prior to 591cy(p.19).
- Nakimas(p.6,21)- a spirit of the marsh, which Baltron believed was not an individual, but the composite lifeforce of the swamp. Dragon Magazine #304 states that Nakimas (Suel), or Bwimb (Oeridian), is a Mud Lord from the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze
- Leptor- Balton's 8th level apprentice who has returned to the keep for his master's treasure and secrets(p.2,7,10,12).
- Virna- Balton's weretiger assisstant(p.2,10,12).
- Antarcus Giantbane (Arcturus of Sayre)- renegade ranger, hired by Leptor(p.2,9). Apparently part of a group of adventurers, called the Seekers, whom Baltron was a member of.
- King Yiss, Lizard king of the swamp(p.2,4,6).
- Ohjos- High priest of the cult that worships the black flame(p.4,30). He's later confirmed to be Suloise, a possible descendent of the House of Malhel, with his name meaning 'Eye of god'(p.90)
- Arthemene- mentioned in relation to 'it was in Arthemene's day when (the cult) arrived'(p.4). Later confirmed to be a Count, about a century prior to the module, who raised a small army to combat the cult, only to find them vanished(p.90).
- Boazor- the youngest son of the local lord, who died to the black flame before the start of the module(p.4).
- Enrix- Son of Demetrios, who died to the black flame before the start of the module(p.4).
- Orimaxes, a sage who lives far to the south of Labalna, who's country is also plagued by the Cult of the Black Flame.(p.5)
- Hardrack, a lawful good fighter tricked into serving Leptor through a cursed helm that drains his wisdom(p.11-12)
- Minor characters: Harry the Bandit(p.8), Gyruga the lizard man(p.8), Ivral Zahn a bandit leader(p.8), Eggy Gax the gnome illustionists mentor (a play on gygax)(p.8), Borg the sly, half orc thief(p.8), Cyrus and Tyras Thyrian, twin warriors(p.8), Boris the Baffler, gnome illusionist(p.9), Rothgar Redmace, human cleric (p.9), Shagroth, a lizardman witchdoctor (p.13), Keswin, a good priest(p.21), Surteek a cult member and apparition(p23), Caerron the Centaur(p.25), Andar the human ranger(p.25), Theandra a human noble(p.25), Torm Blackmace a Black Fire Cultist(p.25), Eson the Wise, human monk(p.28) and agent of Keoland
These characters came with a small paragraph describing their personality and quirks.
- Karis Sunpriest, human male cleric(p.17).
- Rayche Firebrand, Human male Fighter(p.17).
- Krondar Hammerhand, dwarven male fighter(p.17).
- Deric Blackstone, human male ranger(p.17).
- Nicholas Mysticus, human male magic user(p.18).
- Lintra Silverleaf, half-elven female Fighter/Magic User(p.18).
- Slu Tippy, halfling female thief(p.18).
- Alberich Delversson, gnomish male fighter/illusionist(p.18).
- Algoid (p.13)
- Apparition (p.23)
- Beholder (p.13)
- Blood Hawk (p.9)
- Bugbear (p.8)
- Carrion Crawlers(p.11)
- Centaur (p.25)
- Cifal (p.13)
- Crocodile (p.13)
- Daemon (p.30)
- Demon Type I (p.32)
- Dragon, Black (p.13)
- Dragon, Pan Lung (p.6)
- Frog, Giant (p.13)
- Frog, Killer (p.13)
- Frog, Poisonous (p.13)
- Gargoyle (p.13)
- Gas Spore (p.13)
- Ghast (p.13)
- Ghoul (p.13)
- Giant, Fog (p.13,24)
- Gnome (p.9)
- Golem, Stone (p.28)
- Half-orc (p.8)
- Horse (p.8)
- Human (p.8,12,25,28)
- Invisible Stalker(p.31)
- Lizardman (p.6-8,13,24)
- Lycanthrope, Weretiger (p.12)
- Meazel (p.13)
- Mimic (p.21)
- Mummy (p.29)
- Needleman (p.13)
- Ogre (p.24)
- Quasit (p.12-13)
- Rot Grub (p.11)
- Shadow (p.13)
- Shambling Mound (p.7,13)
- Snake, Giant Constrictor (p.13)
- Snake, Giant Poisonous (p.13)
- Skeleton, Lizardman (p.30)
- Son of Kyuss (p.29)
- Spectre (p.13)
- Sphinx, Hieraco- (p.9,13)
- Sphinx, Crio- (p.13)
- Spider, large (p.7)
- Toad, Giant (p.13)
- Troll (p.6,11,13)
- Vampire Mist (p.3,10,13,28)- First appearance
- Vitriolus (p.3,30)- First appearance
- Wasp, Giant (p.13)
- Weasel, Giant (p.13)
- Will-o-Wisp (p.11,13)
- Worg (p.9)
- Wraith (p.13)
- Wyvern (p.22)
- Yellow Mold (p.11)
The cult of the Black Flame has existed for more than a century, as evidenced by statues created by the cult being a century old(p.25). This is confirmed in Dragon Magazine #304, placing the Cult's occupation of the keep to be around 491CY(p.90).
- Book of the Cult of Black Flame- a book containing the scripture of the cult, that is capable of harming good aligned creatures and converting neutral creatures to evil(p.31).
- A Talisman of Ultimate Evil(p.30)
- Labalna- the village where Demetrios lives(p.4), which is approximately 50 miles from Baltron's Beacon, which is still visible in the village(p.6)
- Isle of Banburn- a far off island the PCs can be ported to. It's a heavily jungled, tiny isle inhabited by sea birds(p.22).