June 2nd, 2018
C3: The Lost Island of Castanamir is recommended for levels 1-4. Granted, I am player who is looking for a little melee over computating, but I have figured out a few locked-door mysteries in my adventures. That said, this module would have not been particularly enjoyable since it is all kinds of patience-trying puzzles, shifting rooms, teleportation, etc. I would have died early on and been forced to watch the other, smarter members of the party figure out how to deal with the gingwatzim.
Other “fun” things in Lost Island:
- There is a Greyhawk version of a roomba [the cleaning golem], if a roomba had a disintegration ray and was largely indestructible.
- Castanamir has a giant TV set that can project the fears or fantasies of whomever uses it.
- The two lizard men in 8C are not the usual lizard men. They are incredibly intelligent but speak no identifiable language. They are also from a culture where magic is suppressed and technology reigns. I suspect they are crossovers from this prime material plane’s Draconians.
- The simulacrum of Bradvig, a 10th-level magic user whose intelligence Castanamir wanted to use for filing his spells and magical ingredients.
- Another magic-user, this one a sixth-level Lawful Evil character. I will remind all readers that this module is for levels 1-4.
- This recap totally leaves out the various types of gingwatzim, who have multiple forms and are probably confusing to play from a DM’s perspective.
He is iron man.
May 20th, 2018
Onto B12: Queen’s Harvest, which is another intro-level module that came out well past when I was an intro-level adventurer. That said, a beginning DM could do much worse than using this module to start off the tales of Gimlor, Drylin Maidenkisser, and the rest.
- There are lots and lots of orcs and goblins running around the keep. Big surprise, none of them are well-led, and all of them can easily be tricked, bribed, or otherwise disposed of. Also, killing them works.
- Orcs don’t like taking orders from hobgoblins. No kidding–who does?
- There are a lot of good names in B12: Dyarr-Dakk, Klossarek, Ratgrobb, and Skrakkbak could be the name of a humanoid law firm.
- Ogre and the Owlbear- not only a potentially lethal encounter to start off the dungeon crawl but also the newest comedy duo filling the pubs in Highport.
- After defeating the evil cleric, fighters, and assorted other rabble, the party, or what is left of them, is well rewarded. Platinum pieces show up, and we all know how good those are. Plus there will be some good arguing, haggling, etc. over who gets the sword +2 or the short sword +2.
Are you adequately prepared to laugh?
May 8th, 2018
B11-King’s Festival is an introductory-level module. I mean, truly introductory, as in it gives the DM and players a round by round breakdown of how combat works. That said, it starts where every good adventure starts: with a townsperson asking the party to fight the orcs who burned his temple. As a proud member of neutral evil, that is exactly where I want to start. I don’t like orcs, and a burned temple strikes me as a good place to find loot.
Once into the dungeon proper, all the usual suspects make an appearance: a kobold, a ferret-training orc, some bugbears, a group of drunken orcs, one evil [or chaotic, to use the nomenclature of Basic D&D] cleric, carrion crawlers, skeletons, ghouls, zombies, and these guys:
In fact, this module is pretty much a Perverse Osmosis album.
May 7th, 2018
B10, no, not the vitamin, but instead this UK module that takes players from Basic D&D to Expert. I look at it as a sort of Isle of Dread meets horse riding. Given my devotion to AD&D, I never played B10, but it certainly has that classic UK look.
Three heads on a pike? What’s not to like? From the context of the module, these heads mark the gnoll’s border.
And here, this is straight-out Lovecraft.
These hutaakan, or jackal-men, are the rulers of a group of semi-human humans. One can see why with their good posture and imposing mien.
B10 is also complex enough where it comes with lots and lots of counters. I never liked playing with counters, given the fact that they were very easily lost. But that says more about me than anything else.
May 6th, 2018
When going back through these pages, I remembered that I never finished working through the B series of AD&D modules. So on to B8: Journey to the Rock, probably the most Y&T album-sounding title of any module in the B series.
As usual, some highlights:
- Encounter W2: Lair of the Harpies. In the harpy nest, there are three harpy chicks. The module text reads, “These little harpies cannot harm anyone. However, they all have the evil inclinations of an adult harpy.” I know that some would argue otherwise, but I could not, in good conscience, allow these little harpies to grow up to be big ones.
- The Cavern of the Chameleon Men: I guess if there are going to be shambling mounds, there can be chameleon men. Representative chameleon names: Kanreon and Thronik. Likelihood that K and T has used their chameleon powers in an effort to spy on chameleon men women: 1-7 on a d8.
- A shipful of gnomes pulling said ship across the desert.
- One of the final encounters is with the Crone of Chaos, who, hopefully, used to live in the Caves of Chaos before relocating to the drier, warmer clime of the high desert. Even crones need to think of how damp cave air might complicate joint pain.
I can see why I didn’t play B8 too much, if ever, during my formative AD&D years. It is a bit of a snoozer. Except for this: