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X12 – Skarda’s Mirror

Basic Dungeons and Dragons

  • Publisher: TSR
  • Rules: Dungeons & Dragons BECMI
  • Developer: Aaron Allston

Expert Adventure:

0e-adv-x12 Skarda's Mirror
0e-adv-x12 X12 – Skarda’s Mirror

It’s mirror of life trapping, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. People go in, and they don’t come out. Nor can you talk with anyone inside. Somehow, that’s not quite the way you remember those mirrors work.

This Skarda fellow showed up a few years ago with a band of raiders, and no one in the land has been safe since then. Whole villages have disappeared into this Skarda’s mirror. Your band is approached by relatives of one of the victims?and adventurer like yourselves.

You have to get into that mirror of whatever-it-is, find this man, and get him out in one piece. The reward is more that adequate. Only problem is, no one out here can tell you what to expect once you get in? or even how to get there.

Product History

X12: “Skarda’s Mirror” (1987), by Aaron Allston, is the twelfth adventure in the Expert Series for Basic D&D. It was published in January 1987.

Origins. After his success writing the acclaimed N4: “Treasure Hunt” (1987), Allston was asked to pitch some supplement ideas. He suggested a GM advice book and an adventure that he called “Skarda’s Mirror”. TSR decided not to publish the GM’s book, but they did contract Allston to write “Skarda’s Mirror”.

Ironically, “Skarda’s Mirror” would be the last book that Allston sold to TSR based on his own ideas; the rest of his TSR assignments would begin with ideas or product descriptions from TSR themselves.

Almost Epic. The previous two “X” adventures — X10: “Red Arrow, Black Shield” (1985) and X11: “Saga of the Shadow Lord” (1986) — had been epics that enlarged the scope of the “X” adventures. “Skarda’s Mirror” almost was: it involves a wizard plotting to take over Karameikos through an army magically transported through the eponymous mirror, but despite that it’s still a smaller, more personal adventure.

Adventuring Tropes. Unlike most of the “X” series, “Skarda’s Mirror” is not a large-scale wilderness adventure. Instead it’s an adventure focused on investigation, roleplaying, and just a bit of exploration. There’s even a dungeon, though players must break out rather than in. A strong plot underlies all of this, though it’s not quite as railroady as the plots of AD&D’s 2e days (1989-2000).

Expanding the Known World. “Skarda’s Mirror” focuses on the country of Karameikos. Even at the start of 1987, this was one of the most detailed areas of the Known World. It had been outlined in Zeb Cook’s Expert Set (1981), then its town of Threshold had been revealed in Frank Mentzer’s updated Basic Set (1983) while the city of Specularum was the focus of B6: “The Veiled Society” (1984). However the most important appearance of Karameikos prior to the release of “Skarda’s Mirror” had been in B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986), a wilderness adventure set in the area.

The release of “Skarda’s Mirror” happened on the threshold of TSR’s large-scale expansion of Karameikos (and the Known World). In April, GAZ1: “The Grand Duchy of Karameikos” (1987) extensively detailed the country, then in June B1-9: In Search of Adventure (1987) updated most of the original nine “B” adventures for the setting.

Expanding the Outer Planes. Gary Gygax loved pocket dimensions, and they can be found in some of the early AD&D modules as a result. This type of adventure was less common in the Basic D&D line, but “Skarda’s Mirror” is an exception: it reveals a small pocket dimension located in a mirror.

“Skarda’s Mirror” also pays some attention to Basic D&D’s own cosmology, touching upon the plots of an Immortal from the Sphere of Thought.

About the Creators. Allston’s next Known World supplement was GAZ1: “The Grand Duchy of Karameikos”. In later years, he’d become increasingly known for his connection to this setting.

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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

Where is it used?
  • Karameikos – Levels 5-8
TimelineAC 1000Ylaruam

Introduction to Ylaruam – Introducing the Arabian Nights region of the setting. Entering army service to become citizens in Ylaruam, a new group of recruits learn about life in the army.

Relic Hunter – Aladdin’s Cave. A chance from a mysterious benefactor to find a magical treasure.

Rumour Only
Mystery of the Hidden Kingdom of Dragons – Dragonborn arrive
– The first glimpses of Dragonborn on records are near the Wrymsteeth mountains, Atruaghin Clans, Karameikos and Ylaruam.
Mystery of the Magic Mirror – A band of thieves are rumoured to have discovered a Magic Mirror in the desert of Ylaruam. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8)

Still to be Edited
The Jade Hare. A group of goblins have stolen a holy relic and the village has put out a contract to have it returned.

TimelineAC 1001Darokin

Relic Hunter – Dragon Hatchery (part 2) – Investigate the source of the attacks, and find the missing bard. (Tyranny of Dragons)

Rumour Only
Mystery of the Magic Mirror – A band of thieves is pushed into the Cruth Mountains after gaining a reputation of violence in the wilderness of Darokin. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8)

Still to be Edited
(B5) Horror on the Hill – A group of Hobgoblins are causing issues north of Fort Hobart.
Acquisitions Incorporated – Fun in Phandalin
Waterdeep – Dragon Heist – Trollskull Ally – The trials of owning an new estate and meeting the neighbours.
(dwt) Sanctuary of the Slaughtered – A lost shrine has been discovered.
Rise of the Drow – The Darkness Arrives

TimelineAC 1002Karameikos

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery of Davinos. A traladaran noble seeks to improve those wronged when the Duke took control of the city.

Rumours Only
Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres
. Spring (Thaumont) A squad of goblins are found dead near Ruglov village on Eastron Road. Cause of death remains a mystery.
Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – Departing early in spring from Highforge to reach Specularum with holds full of dwarven weapons, gear and mechanical toys built over the winter months.
Mystery of the Magic Mirror – Settlements in the Cruth Lowlands have gone missing and credit claimed by a new warlord called Skarda. All investigators into this new warlord fails to turn up any clues. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8)

Still to be Edited
<-> (B8) Journey to the Rock – Arkayz, a hermit wizard near Threshold is requesting adventures.
(PC2) Tabi Hunt – The Gnomes of Highforge are looking for people to collect some Tabi from the Dymrak forest.
(dwt) When Goblins Die, No Comets are Seen – delving further into an abandoned mine is causing issues.

TimelineAC 1003Karameikos

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres. Spring (Thaumont) A bunch of dead blue and black dragonborn are found along the route from Radlebb Keep to Specularum. They appear to have died under mysterious circumstances.

Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – Departing early in spring from Highforge to reach Specularum with holds full of gnomish and dwarven war machines, weapons, gear and toys built over the winter months.

Mystery of the Torenescu. A mysterious package, and night time deliveries to the Torenescu estate in Specularum.

Relic Hunter – Lavv. A ruin has been discovered under Kelvin and experts are called in to verify.

Rumour Only
Mystery of the Magic Mirror
– A number of small hamlets go missing near Radlebb Woods along Westron Road. The heroes of Verge set out to put an end to this new warlord called Skarda. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8)
Mystery of the Travelling Dragonborn – Part 1 – Travelling from Darokin City in three caravans. On headed North, though Ethengar and into the Heldannic Territories. One Headed South, into the Five Shires, through Karameikos, then Thyatis and up the coast of Ylaruam and the Northern Reaches before reaching the Norwold Region. The Last caravan headed east into Ylaruam, then up into Rockhome and out into the Northern Reaches before making it unto the Norwold Region. (Tyranny of Dragons)

Still to be Edited
Giant Migration – The giants are migrating to the eastern end of Darokin, southern and eastern Rockhome, western Northern Reaches, eastern Karameikos, and western Ylaruam. (rumour)
<-> (B3) Palace of the Silver Princess – A princess trapped out of time reaches out for help.
(B6) The Veiled Society – Trouble on the streets of Specularum draw out the secret society of thieves.
(B10) Night’s Dark Terror – On the edge of the Dymrak forest goblins are making war on the inhabitants and the Duke as assigned heroes to deal with it.
(mdt) Peril at the Lamiak’s Bridge – A Nereid’s bridge in trouble.

TimelineAC 1004Karameikos

Attack of the Hill Giants – A settlement in the Karameikos called Goldenfields is attacked by Hill Giants. (Storm King’s Thunder)

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – Departing early in spring from Highforge to reach Specularum with a mysterious cargo that never reached the destination and ended the annual pilgrimage. Soldiers have taken the remains of the caravan to Kelvin for further investigation.

Mystery of the Magic Mirror – The heroes of Verge recover a mirror Artefact believed to be associated with the Warlord Skarda and the mirror found in Ylaruam. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8)

Rumour Only
Mystery in Radlebb Woods
 – The sanctuary of Traldar heroes has been discovered, and heroes have been sent to investigate. This is the first year its been requested. A party of dwarven heroes wanting the kings favour head off to explore the site.
Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres – Spring (Thaumont) The Great Gnome Caravan goes missing, the usual suspect is implicated.

Still to be Edited
<-> (X1) The Isle of Dread – A map of the coastline is discovered with rumours of a city of gold in the heart.
(mdt) Sepulcher of the Witching Hour’s Sage – Ancient sage able to answer questions lost to history.

TimelineAC 1005Karameikos

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery in Radlebb Woods – The sanctuary of Traldar heroes has been discovered, and heroes have been sent to investigate. This is the second year its been requested. A group lead by three Wizardly Gnomish brothers heads off to find out what happened to the dwarves and if they can fare better.

Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres. Spring (Thaumont) In Thaumont (3rd Month), an outpost near the Krakatos ruins is massacred. Investigation has tracks leading into the river, with a team from Rheddrian’s Investigation Bureau looking into it and finding nothing.

Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – The Gnome Caravan has been missing for a year and all news leads to the city of Kelvin in Karameikos.

Mystery of the Hidden Kingdom of DragonsThe Dragon’s Cart. A mysterious cart, with a mysterious Dragonborn known as Drazzle.

Mystery of the Magic Mirror – A mirror artefact of unknown power has taken two heroes of Karameikos believed to be associated with the warlord Skarda and Verge. A call had been put out for experts to solve the mystery. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8) Tue Group

Skirmish at Castallan Keep. Each year recruits are brought to the keep to push back the tide of goblinoids and orcs.

Still to be Edited
(B2) The Keep on the Borderlands – Joining the Army up near the border of Karameikos and Ylaruam.

TimelineAC 1006Karameikos

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery in Radlebb Woods – The sanctuary of Traldar heroes has been discovered, and heroes have been sent to investigate. This is the third year its been requested.

Mystery in Wendar – the elven nation of Wendar has put out a call to save their kingdom and the Callarii have answered with local heroes.

Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres. Spring (Thaumont) A few giants were found on the Dukes Road having died mysteriously, officials choose not to investigate further.

Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – After repairing their Caravans, the gnomes are ready to travel again. The Gnomes are travelling from Highforge to Specularum and back again. They need protection from thieves and other dangers on the roads. Cargo full of mechanical toys for the markets of Specularum.

Mystery of the Magic Mirror – Afteraffects of destroying the mirror plane. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8) Tue Group

Relic Hunter – Blackrazor, Wave and Whelm – There is a chance to recover three missing relics from the Church of Karameikos. (meant for AC 1007)

Skirmish at Castallan Keep. Each year recruits are brought to the keep to push back the tide of goblinoids and orcs.

TimelineAC 1007Karameikos

Black Eagle – Escape. Forced to escape from a deadly situation by the Black Eagle Barony.

Den of the Hill Giants – Talks with the Clans of Hill Giants located in Karameikos. (Storm Kings Thunder)Wed Group (Sir Klovis)

Explore – Karameikos. Enter into unexplored regions of the nation and return with journals, maps and stories.

Mystery of the Magic Mirror – Afteraffects of destroying the mirror plane. (X12 – Skarda’s Mirror – Levels 5-8) Tue Group

Relic Hunter – Blackrazor, Wave and Whelm – There is a chance to recover three missing relics from the Church of Karameikos. (Tales of the Yawning Portal)Wed Group

Skirmish at Castallan Keep. Each year recruits are brought to the keep to push back the tide of goblinoids and orcs.

Rumour Only
Mystery of the Duke’s Road Massacres
. Spring (Thaumont) A patrol of giants were found on the Dukes Road having died mysteriously. A celebration called the festival of blood dedicated to the mysterious entity starts on the last day of Thaumont.
Mystery of the Great Gnome Caravan – The Gnomes are travelling from Highforge to Specularum and back again. They need protection from thieves and other dangers on the roads.
The Day Magic Died – Nothing of particular note happens in Karameikos due to the loss of high level magic.

What is My Library

My Library is a section of my blog dedicated to the reference of material I am using in my games and linking it back to the sourcebooks I am using. It is also a handy way to keep track of the material I have.

It is intended as a reference section for personal use, any other use is just a bonus.

Library Overview Page

D&D BECMI (0e)

Rulebooks (0e-rb): rc
Adventures (0e-adv): b1, b19, x1, x2, x3, x4, x5, x6, x7, x8, x9, x10, x11, x12, x13, xl1, da1, da2, da3, da4, cm1, cm2, cm3, cm4, cm5, cm6, cm7, cm8, cm9
Wrath of the Immortals (0e-wi): bs, bs1, bs2
Creature Crucible (0e-pc): 01, 02, 03, 04
Gazetteers (0e-gaz): 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, box, box1, box2, box3
Hollow World (0e-hw): a1, a2, a3, cs, dms, pg, q1, r1, r2, r3

D&D 3rd Edition (3rd Party Products)

AEG (3e-aeg)
– Accessories: aa1, aa2, adr, adu, aem, aev, afe, agd, ago, agu, ama, ame, amo, arb, are, ase, atb, aun, awa, awi
– Worlds Largest: wlc, wld

Fantasy Flight Games
– Dragonstar (3e-ffg-ds): ec, gg, is, pc, sh, sr
– Horizon (3e-ffg-hs): mec
– Legends & Lairs (3e-ffg-ll): ma, pm, ss

Mongoose Publishing (3e-mgp)
– Complete Campaigns:: cc01, cc02, cc03, cc04, cc06
– Cities of Fantasy: cf01, cf02, cf03, cf04, cf05
– Classic Play: cp01, cp02, cp03, cp04, cp05, cp06, cp81, cp82
– Encyclopaedia Arcane: ea01, ea02, ea03, ea04, ea05, ea06, ea07, ea08, ea09, ea10, ea11, ea12, ea13, ea14, ea15, ea16, ea17, ea18, ea19, ea20, ea21, ea22, ea23, ea24, ea25, ea26, ea97
– Epic Players Guide: epg20, epg21, epg22
– Gladiator: gsd
– Monster Encyclopaedia: me50, me51
– Power Classes: pc01, pc02, pc03, pc04, pc05, pc06, pc07, pc08, pc09, pc10, pc11, pc12, pc13
– Quintessential Collector: qc01, qc02, qc03, qc04, qc05, qc06, qc07, qc08, qc09, qc10, qc11, qc12, qc13, qc14, qc15, qc16, qc17, qc18, qc19, qc20, sc21, qc22, qc23, qc41, qc42, qc43, qc44, qc45, qc46, qc47, qc48, qc49, qc50, qc51, qc52, qc91, qc92, qc93
– Slayer’s Guides: sg01, sg02, sg03, sg04, sg05, sg06, sg07, sg08, sg09, sg10, sg11, sg12, sg13, sg14, sg15, sg16, sg17, sg18, sg19, sg20, sg21, sg22, sg23, sg25, sg26, sg27, sg28, sg29, sg30, sg95, sg96, sg98, sg99
– The Planes: tp01, tp02, tp94
– Travellers Tales: tt01, tt02, tt03, tt04, tt05
– Ultimate Handbooks: uh01, uh02, uh03, uh05, uh05, uh06, uh07, uh08, uh09, uh10, uh11, uh13, uh14, uh15

Paizo (3e-pzo)
AP01 – Rise of the Runelords (3e-pzo-rotr): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, dice, map, pg
AP02 – Curse of the Crimson Throne (3e-pzo-cct): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, dice, map, pg
AP03 – Second Darkness (3e-pzo-sd): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, dice, map, pg
AP04 – Legacy of Fire (3e-pzo-lof): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, dice, map, pg

D&D 5th Edition (5e)

Wizards of the Coast (5e-wiz): ai, bgda, cm, cos, cosrv, crcn, dmg, dms, egw, erlw, ftd, ggr, gos, hdq, idrf, jtrc, mm, mpmm, mot, mtf, oota, ph, pota, psa, psz, scag, scc, skt, tod, trot, typ, vgm, vrgr, wbw, wdh, wdmm, xge
EN Publishing (5e-enp): et1, et2, etaa, etaw, etrh, etrla
Frog God Games (5e-fgg): bls, bp, bpa, fef, ra, wllra
Goodman Games (5e-gmg): oar1, oar2, oar3, oar4, oar5
Green Ronin (5e-grr): br, tcs
Kobold Press (5e-kob): cc, dm, dm01, dm02, dm03, dm04, dm05, dm06, dm07, dm08, dm09, dm10, dm11, dm12, dm13 dm14, dm15, dm16, dm17, dm18, dm19, dm20, mhh, mw, tob, tob-pawn, tob2, tob2-lair, rob2-pawn
Legendary Games (5e-leg): fkcc, pcc
Rite Publishing (5e-rip): cod
Web Resource (53-web): mph

d20 OGL (3eogl)
Mongoose Publishing (3eogl-mgp): cyb, spk

Fate
Dresden Files (fate-df): v1, v2, v3
Fate Accelerate (fae): fcb, dfa

Pathfinder 1st Edition
Paizo Rulebooks (pf1-rb): uc
Campaign Setting (pf1-pcs): psfg,
Chronicles (pf1-pch): grk, sos
Companion (pf1-pco): dep
Modules (pf1-mod): gh, mm
Return of the Runelords (pf1-rr): b1
Anniversary Editions (pf1): cotct-ae, rotr-ae, rotr-pg
Legendary Games (pf1-leg): fkcc, pcc
Midgard Setting (pf1-kob): mwb
PFS Organised Play Intro (pf1-pso-intro) fs1, fs2, fs3
PFS Organised Play Season 1 (pf1-pso-so1) 51
AP05 – Council of Thieves (pf1-ct): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, map, pg
AP06 – Kingmaker (pf1-km): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, map, pg
AP07 – Serpent’s Skull (pf1-ser): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, map, pg
AP08 – Carrion Crown (pf1-cc): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, map, pg
AP09 – Jade Regent (pf1-jr): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, map, pg
AP10 – Skull and Shackles (pf1-sku): b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, pg
AP11 – Shattered Star (pf1-ss): b1, b2

Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Core Rules (pf2-rb): apg, b1, b2, cr, gg
Adventures (pf2-mod): dd
Lost Omens (pf2-lo): cg, gm, leg, psg, wg

Babylon 5:
1st Ed Rules (br-mgp-1cr): rpg, pe
1st Ed Adventure (b5-mgp-1ad): as, ft, ic
2nd Ed Adventure (b5-mgp-2ad): ffs
1st Ed Fact Books (b5-mgp-1fb): cr, ea, lnaw, mf, nr, tm, vs
1st Ed Source Book (b5-mgp-1sb): ef, fm, gg, mtr, pc, ra, zo
2nd Ed Source Book (b5-mgp-2sb): dr, ipx, lgfs, lgg, lgp, lgt, rim, sbm, sg
1st Ed Time Line (b5-mgp-1tl): s2, s3, s4, s5, s6
2nd Ed Time Line (b5-mgp-2tl): lr
2nd Ed Ship Plans (b5-mgp-2sp): v3

Super Heroes:
Sentinels Comics (hs-sc): cr, sk

Star Wars Fantasy Flight Games
Beginner (sw-ffg-b): ar, ee, fa, fd
Age of Rebellion (sw-ffg-ar): cr, cm, da, fb, fo, ft, gmk, le, oa, sr, st
Edge of the Empire (sw-ffg-ee): cr, br, bcr, dc, eu, fc, fh, gmk, jy, ln, mp, nd, sm, sf
Force and Destiny (sw-ffg-fd): cr, cg, dh, ev, gh, gmk, kf, kp, np, ss, up
Setting (sw-ffg-s): aa, cr, dr, gg, rs, ss

Online Resources (web): dWiki, pWiki, sWiki, vop

Content Updates

  • 2022-08-20 – Linked into the timeline.
  • 2020-12-20 – Title changed from X12 to 0e-adv-x12.
Library of Books

B5, d20 System, Pathfinder, SW

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By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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