Old Soldiers Never Die

What begins as a simple expedition to settle a new village in the ruins of the mysterious Castle Inverness sets off a chain of events that could threaten every living being from Winterhaven to Hammerfast. Not everyone in the Nentir Vale is happy to see civilization brought to Inverness, particularly the ghost of Salazar Vladistone, who commands the spectral legion called the Phantom Brigade.

"March of the Phantom Brigade" is an adventure designed for season 4 of the Dungeons & Dragons Encounters official play program. It includes the information the Dungeon Master needs to run the adventure, thirteen ready-to-play encounters (each intended for one session of play), and full-color foldout battle maps depicting the various encounter locations.

"March of the Phantom Brigade" by Rodney Thompson, is the adventure for Season 4 of D&D Encounters. It was released for play between the Winter 2010 and Spring 2011 seasons.

As with the earlier Encounters season "Keep on the Borderlands: A Season of Serpents," "March of the Phantom Brigade" focuses on D&D Essentials. Essentials characters are required unless the organizers say otherwise, and the pregens are all Essentials.

The adventure's plot is also connected to Wizards' big crossover event at the time, "The Abyssal Plague." This event spun out of The Gates of Madness (2011) ebook and The Mark of Nerath (2011) novel; it then ran through six additional novels. All told, it touched upon three worlds: the Points of Light World, the Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun. In "March of the Phantom Brigade," the players encounter the Plague in chapter 5 and search for its origins.

Some of the critters related to this Encounters season would also return in a later Points of Light supplement: Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale (2011) includes six types of Abyssal Plague Demons and five members of the Phantom Brigade.

In "March of the Phantom Brigade," the players join an expedition to settle a new town in the ruins of Castle Inverness. The town and its "ghost tower" had previously been seen in C2: "The Ghost Tower of Inverness" (1980). There are hints that the Nentir Vale's Castle Inverness is the exact same locale as the previous one, even though the castle had originally been set in Greyhawk. One section of the adventure says that the castle's main gate "was placed using magical power and techniques completely alien to the world"; another states, "the foundation stones don't follow the contours of the hilltop, suggesting that the castle was not designed for this hilltop, but was instead moved here from somewhere else."

This was not the first homage to "The Ghost Tower of Inverness" in the Points of Light world. There are at least two other Ghost Towers in the Vale—of which the Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens had previously gotten the most attention.