The Fright at Tristor (2000) is a 32-page adventure module for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition written by Keith Polster. It was initially released exclusively to RPGA guild-level members as part of the Living Greyhawk organized play campaign, with a much later digital release to the general public. It is suitable for 1st-level player characters.
- Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for a Dungeons & Dragons product.
The poverty-stricken hamlet of Tristor has been the subject of unexplained, gruesome animal mutilations in the past month. The region has been under martial law due to recent orc raids in the region, and conscription for the recent war has depleted the village of able-bodied men brave enough to investigate the this latest problem. The villagers turn to adventurers for help, offering a substantial reward.
The player characters rescue a farmer and his granddaughter from an owlbear, and are invited to stay the night at his farm. During the night they are attacked by orc scouts. Reaching the nearby village of Tristor, they learn about bear attacks on the town at a nearby farm, led by an exiled local named Reuven and a trained bear. Discovering an orc encampment in the area allows them to free prisoners whose information can lead then to Reuven and put an end to the attacks for good.
Development and release
The Fright at Tristor was written in 2000 by Keith Polster. It used the standard formatting and livery of Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules of the era, including a full-color cover by Rebecca Guay and black and white interior illustrations by Matthew Mitchell. This full production value approach was not typical of RPGA adventure modules.
The module's release was scheduled for the year 2000 and is dated as such, but delays meant that many did not receive their copy until around January 2001. Polyhedron #145 (Dec 2000/Jan 2001) noted that copies were in the mail, while Living Greyhawk Journal #3 (Feb 2001) notes that most members should have received their copies by that date. Polyhedron #146 (Mar 2001) blamed the delays on the module's production as a Wizards of the Coast product, where it competed with the company's main production schedule.
The module included response forms to be returned to the RPGA with feedback. The RPGA was inundated with requests, and had to increase its estimate of a 2-week response time to 6-8 weeks. It continued to accept response forms until the end of 2001. Processing the results from the module created over 500 man-hours of tedious work for RPGA staff.
A re-release of The Fright at Tristor was announced in Living Greyhawk Journal #8, to be made available in May 2002, available for purchase to all RPGA members via the RPGA website. A new Living Greyhawk adventure certificate was issued allowing it to be played in the 2002 campaign year. The re-release was scheduled for June 2002, but was delayed until the end of 2002, two years after its initial release. It was priced at US$9.95. The re-issued module was given the code CORS2-01 and set during the 592 CY campaign year.
The module was released in digital format on DnDClassics on September 17, 2013. It was subsequently available on its successor Dungeon Masters Guild, and DriveThruRPG, where it became a silver best seller by November 2020.
Reception and influence
A Fright At Tristor was a huge success, with a third of all RPGA members playing the module. Over 1,000 players had taken part in the adventure by the end of 2001. However, in Polyhedron #146, RPGA manager David Wise noted that the adventure cost a lot to produce, and was one of the less prized benefits of RPGA membership. Producing it as a Wizards of the Coast product also led to delays as it competed with their main product line, and no future full-budget Living Greyhawk modules were produced.
Kevin Kulp described A Fright at Tristor as a module which has aged extremely well, as of 2013. He praised its site-based encounters generating a mountaing sense of dread, noted its good balance of investigation and combat, and recommended the module as easily converted to newer edition of the game.
The Living Greyhawk module COR3-04 By Cunning and Forced Cause notes that the attitudes of the population of Tristor as described in this module are not typical for the Theocracy of the Pale. Living Greyhawk updates in Readying 591 CY (early 2002) described that the theocratic government of the Pale had established a re-education camp for heretics on the site of Tristor. The Sunndi module SND01-M01 Freedom of Speech by Pieter Sleijpen was written as a Sunndi regional introduction for The Fright at Tristor.
Environs of Waterdeep, the web enhancement to City of Splendors (1994), cited The Fright at Tristor as one of its sources; specifically the giant leeches found in the Mere of Dead Men.
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