The widow insists there are demons in her house. She hears them at night in her root cellar, and now they call out to her. But she is old and nervous and her mind often plays tricks on her.
Two men, their heads fully sheathed in large, black hoods, dig quickly in the darkness of the cellar. The hole grows deeper as their shovels bite into the earth. "This will teach those meddlers their place," the shorter, slim figure says haltingly.
"But don't you see the advantage?" snaps the tall man. "They will fear us now. They will fear for their lives."
Grunting, they heave a sailcloth bundle into the hole. As it falls, a woman's hand dangles lifelessly form the folds.
Who is the woman? Why will her death trigger riots and unrest in the city of Specularum? And the assassins: Are they Torenescu, Radu, or Vorloi? Or, curse of curses, the Veiled Society?
This special game adventure provides a section of buildings and figures to cut out and use, giving you three dimensions to your game play!
For characters levels 1-3.
"The Veiled Society," by David "Zeb" Cook, was published in 1984 as part of the continuing series of adventures for Basic D&D. Given that it was the sixth adventure in the (unconnected) sequence, it's notable how revolutionary it was. Among its ground-breaking elements were its use of the Known World; its style of adventure; and its included gaming accessories.
Expanding The Known World. Zeb Cook and Tom Moldvay created the Known World for X1: "The Isle of Dread" (1981) so that Basic D&D could have a setting that was not Greyhawk. Cook simultaneously featured the Known World's Grand Duchy of Karameikos in the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (1981) and then created the first great saga of the Known World in X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" (1983) and X5: "Temple of Death" (1983).
Generally, the Known World was an important element of the Expert adventures, even in adventures not written by Cook, but the same wasn't true for the Basic Set adventures, which had ignored it… until the release of Veiled Society. However, Cook didn't just toss an adventure into some wilderness hex in the Known World; instead he opted to set his adventure in Specularum, the capitol of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Thus, "Veiled Society" immediately became an integral building block for the Known World.
It should be noted that the Known World as seen in its original B-/X-series days (1981-1986) was somewhat different from the Known World that appeared under Bruce Heard's leadership with the publication of GAZ1-14 (1987-1989). This first cut at the Grand Duchy of Karameikos portrayed a less-populated place. Specularum in particular would see lots of revisions from "Veiled Society" to GAZ1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (1987), when its population jumped from 5,000 to 50,000.
Cities & Plots. To this date, every previous Basic adventure had involved exploring some sort of dungeon, cavern, or ruin. There wasn't a city or town to be seen (unless it was buried far underground!). Although some cities had appeared in the wider AD&D line, only a very few adventures such as N1: "Against the Cult of the Reptile God" (1982) - and to a lesser extent U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981) - could truly be called city adventures, with events and exploration happening in the city itself. B6's focus on Specularum was thus totally new for Basic D&D and still quite innovative for D&D generally.
However, the fact that "Veiled Society" was plot-driven was even more innovative. Rather than locales, the adventure focuses on events happening in the city, such as a festival and a riot. It was thus a totally new sort of adventure from TSR.
Fold-Up Buildings. B6 includes fold-up buildings that allow you to depict a chase through the streets of Specularum in 3D. Later the same year, TSR released another Basic D&D accessory, AC3: 3-D Dragon Tiles featuring The Kidnapping of Princess Arelina (1984), which again allowed for 3D dioramas. A sequel followed, AC3: Dragon Tiles featuring the Revenge of Rusak (1985). The idea of fold-up dioramas remained constrained to the Basic D&D game until the release of AD&D's FR8: Cities of Mystery (1989) some years later.
About the Creators. While working on "Veiled Society," Cook was also exercising his interest in pulps with products like The Adventures of Indiana Jones RPG (1984) and CB1: "Conan Unchained!" (1984). B6 was Cook's only digression into the Basic Set, and thus the only Basic adventure to feature much emphasis on the Known World until 1987.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.