Originally posted here in 2010.
The Dark Druid: The Director's Cut
A bit of history. Back in 2002 Eden was getting ready to release their newest game, The Buffy the Vampire Slayer game. As you may know, I had already been playing a Willow/Tara focused WitchCraft game for about a year, so I was pretty excited by this. Well I got asked by Eden to write the first Buffy adventure that would appear in "Games Unplugged" along with an interview with C.J. Carella talking about the game.
I took an idea I had been working on for my other game (tentatively called "All Soul's Night") and thus the Dark Druid was born.
I had been reading a ton of Irish myths then. Among those were the stories of Fionn MacCumhaill ("Finn MacCool") and his foster mothers Bodhmal and Liath. It occurred to me that Liath and Bodhmal were lovers, and to tie it more directly to my work in Buffy, they were reincarnated later on into the form of Willow and Tara. Since that time anytime I read a story about Fionn MacCumhaill I can't help but read Bodhmal and Liath as lovers.
The original featured, rather prominently, Willow and Tara, as to be expected. I had to make some changes to make it playable for others and to make it an "intro" or season opener type episode. The plot dealt with an enemy from the Cast's past as a portent to greater evil in the future. It was designed to be a opening episode of the season, but one that may or may not be directly related to the seasonal arc. We were going to use this i n part of the great "Djinn" story, but that never happened.
Fast forward a few years and I was finishing up work on Ghosts of Albion and another adventure that sprang from "All Soul's Night" called "Blight" (which I have played at Gen Con before). I felt it was time to bring back the Dark Druid and restore it to the mythology that I had created in my games. Now you can have it too. So it became a Prequel or an Episode 0 for my huge Willow & Tara series, The Dragon and the Phoenix. This adventure and the Dragon adventures were designed to feature Willow and Tara. My players were extremely pissed off at Tara being killed, so this was our way of getting our own way.
I updated it not only to fit better with my world-myths, and with some of the work I did on Ghosts of Albion and the adventure Blight. In fact you can run Blight and The Dark Druid as co-adventures, separated by time.
The story is rather direct and linear. This was partly due to the nature of the story and what is was supposed to do (introduce new players to the game) and part of just me writing for the Buffy game for the first time. I have opted not to change that here, despite nearly 10 years of Cinematic Unisystem adventure writing since then. It is supposed to be a quick, fun little adventure dealing with past lives.
The episode was well received and even has a bit on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffyverse_role-playing_games#Adventures
It was the first. The start of a series of adventures that led me personally down a crazy path. It's hard to gauge the effect it has had, it was so fundamental. From this point my writing increased maybe a 100 or 500 fold. Hard to say really.