Someone has "borrowed" a cleric, and without him, the fabled King's Festival cannot go on. Unfortunately, it looks like the orcs have him, and your characters must rescue him.
A great learning adventure, King's Festival provides players and DMs with a valuable introduction to fantasy role-playing in the land of Karameikos. Full of helpful hints for the players and the DM, this module also provides a full dose of excitement! Orcs, carrion crawlers, and villains challenge the characters' fighting skills, and a host of traps and puzzles confound their wits!
"King's Festival" (1989), by Carl Sargent, is the first in a revived line of Basic D&D adventures. It was published in June 1989.
A New Beginning. In 1989, the run of the third edition Basic Set (1983) was stumbling to an end. The line was six years old, and in the meantime AD&D had risen up as TSR's prime D&D line. As a result, all of the original Basic adventures had dropped out of the print, with the only adventures standing being the TSR UK-originated B10: "Night's Dark Terror" (1986) and the "best bits" compilation, B1-9: In Search of Adventure (1987).
Meanwhile, TSR's experiment with detailing the Known World of Mystara in a Forgotten Realms-like series of GAZetteers (1987-1991) was likewise fizzling out. It would take two years to release the final two books in the series, both well behind schedule.
B11: "King's Festival" (1989) can thus be seen as the first of several attempts to revitalize the Basic D&D line. These attempts would run from 1989-1994, at which time the old, storied line was finally shut down.
A Return to Introductions. When B1-B4 (1979-1982) were produced, they weren't just Basic adventures for starting characters, but also introductory adventures that (in various ways) taught players and GMs how to play the game. After that, the "introductory" angle was dropped - probably partly due to the fact that yet more introductions were not needed and partly due to the fact that the third edition Basic Set (9183) focused heavily on introducing the game. In fact, by 1989, the only really introductory D&D adventure was N4: "Treasure Hunt" (1987), for the AD&D line(!).
B11 returned to the old idea, and may have been the most successful introductory adventure ever produced for Basic, both in quality and quantity of content. Over half the adventure is actually introductory material, including DM advice, an introduction to the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and a variety of reference sheets intended to make it easier to run and play D&D.
Expanding the Known World. "King's Festival" was just the second Basic adventure strongly placed in the Known World, the other being B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984).
The Adventure Continues. "King's Festival" was also the only Basic adventure with a sequel - B12: "Queen's Harvest" (1989).
About the Creators. Carl Sargent is a UK designer who'd previously worked for TSR UK and Games Workshop. Other than some scattered Dragon articles, "King's Festival" was his first work for TSR proper. He'd immediately follow it up in July 1989 with contributions to The City of Greyhawk (1989) - though the From the Ashes (1992) Greyhawk work that he's best known for was still several years away.
About the Product Historian
This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, 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 email@example.com.