Advanced Search

Hail the Heroes (2e)
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Hail the Heroes (2e)

Watermarked PDF

Long ago, a great king fell in battle and became an immortal hero. The king's devoted followers built a temple to house his magical shield. Time and dust buried the temple, and the relic was forgotten - until now. Can you win a thrilling race against rival factions to locate the temple? Can you survive the journey through its treacherous halls to gain the shield? Mystara's secret history will be revealed to those who succeed!

Audio components not included.

Product History

"Hail the Heroes" (1994), by Tim Beach, is the first adventure for the AD&D Mystara line. It was published in October 1994.

About the Cover. The pages of the book held by the dragon on the cover match the layout style of the Mystara line. Note the borders to left and right and the big inset box starting the chapter.

Origins: Return to Karameikos. TSR's new Mystara line was designed with two publication tiers. So, following the release of Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure (1994), TSR produced a pair of adventures to support the new locale.

Each of the adventures would be low-level to encourage the new players that TSR was courting with their Mystara line and each would also feature the Audio CDs that had debuted in First Quest (1994) and Karameikos.

The Media Tie-In. TSR supported their late Mystaran lines with novels, and "Hail the Heroes" marked one of the most aggressive attempts to tie those novels in to the roleplaying line: it was advertised as a direct tie-in to Dragonlord of Mystara (1994), the first novel in the Dragonlord Chronicles trilogy (1994-1996).

Dragonlord was a historical novel, set around 500 AC. "Hail the Heroes" linked to it by promising to reveal "part of the secret history" of Dragonlord; the MacGuffin artifact that would be the heart of the "Hail the Heroes" quest was once held by one of the companions of Thelvyn, the hero of Dragonlord. Amusingly, the adventure ends with the players also stumbling across the history of the Dragonlord of Mystara; the adventure then cheekily suggests that the GM "hand this novel to [their] players when their characters take the book."

However, that's not the only media tie-in found in "Hail the Heroes". A tie-in to a different novel is found in Clue 7 in Mirros, with more information on Track 19 of the Audio CD. A volume called The Dragon's Tomb "tells the tale of a magical sword and an epic battle". This is obviously a reference to Mystara's previous fiction trilogy, the Penhaligon Trilogy (1992-1993), the second book of which was indeed named The Dragon's Tomb (1993).

The surprising thing about this tie-in is that "Hail the Heroes" tries to decanonize the whole Penhaligon Trilogy. It complains about an inaccurate depiction of Threshold as a village and says, "Since the date of the manuscript is not given, it is difficult to tell whether the author was writing entertaining fiction without a real basis in fact or if the adventure simply took place before Threshold grew to its present size."

Audio Tropes. Like its predecessors, this adventure uses the Audio CD to support the gameplay. For the most part, certain tracks are played when the players reach certain encounters. One big change from the previous volumes is that the Audio CD no longer tries to voice the player characters. There are also a few additional types of audio cues: Listening Tracks (for when players explicitly listen), Event Tracks (for when certain things happen), and a Background Track (to be played the rest of the time!).

Adventure Tropes. "Hail the Heroes" is standard MacGuffin Quest with opposition: the players must find the Shield of Halav before their opponents. It's a relatively open adventure, starting with investigation and ending with a dungeon crawl.

Exploring Mystara. "Hail the Heroes" is set in and about two cities of Karameikos: Mirros and Threshold. There's some nice details on the former and a nice map of the latter.

Blowing Up the Canon. So does "Hail the Heroes" really decanonize the Penhaligon Trilogy? The best argument against that is "Escape from Thunder Rift", the adventure in the DMR1: Dungeon Master Screen (1993). It directly links to the Penhaligon Trilogy and suggests it's located in the modern-day. A few other Mystaran references clearly link the trilogy to the modern day as well.

So, consider the Dragon's Tomb commentary in "Hail the Heroes" a snarky aside. And it's not like village and city sizes were ever consistent in the known world, considering the changes from the early B/X era (1981+) to the GAZ era (1987+).

Artifacts of Note. The whole adventure centers around a new Known World relic, the Shield of Halav.

Organizations of Note. The adventure is all about the interactions between three Karameikos religious organizations: the Church of Traladara, the Order of the Griffon, and the Cult of Halav. These are all classic Karameikos organizations, found in both GAZ1: "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" (1987) and Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure.

About the Creators. Beach wrote for TSR throughout the first half of the '90s. 1995 was a busy year, which also saw him working for the Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, and Planescape lines.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and 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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (2)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Jenny T February 23, 2021 5:02 pm UTC
Does this PDF include the handouts and map, or is it just the book?
Customer avatar
Billie V October 14, 2019 11:03 am UTC
Is this still playable without the audio component?
Customer avatar
Simon W November 09, 2019 8:04 pm UTC
Yes, it's still perfectly playable, but the experience is much better if you can get the CD.
Narrow Results
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Silver seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2502
File Size:
32.85 MB
Scanned image
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
May 21, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on May 23, 2017.