Perverse Osmosis has made fun of gogglers a few times, but D2: Shrine of the Kuo-Toa is an tough adventure, even with the mirth that a joke at the rotund ichthyoid’s expense can cause. Bindrel the Bard might be laughing it up as he glides down the steps of the ziggurat, but I don’t think he will be laughing much longer when he gets gated to Blibdoolpoolp’s court in the Elemental Plane of Water. If he has an extra 30,000 g.p, in pearls, then sure, he might be able to bard his way out of the situation. Otherwise, he should be hoping that Blibdoolpoolp is feeling merciful and drowns him quickly. Also, who knew that the kuo-toa were so literate? They have a library of more than 1,700 volumes on a range of goggler and non-goggler topics. I don’t think an adventurer could find 1,700 books in all of the Pomarj, and that place is lousy with humonoids. I guess it shows the average fish/frog-man is smarter than an orc or flind.
Another thing about gogglers: one is easy to kill, a couple are fun, but when they start coming at the party in waves of ten or fifteen, especially with a monitor or a couple whips involved, things can get messy quickly. Sure, a skillful party will use light to blind a bunch, fireball a few, chop up a handful, but when that is only the first three waves, then that trip to see Blibdoolpoolp doesn’t seem so bad.
D1: Descent into the Depths of the Earth is exactly what it says. The party descents into the depths, finds a gaggle full of drow, drow caravans, wererats, ghouls, troglodytes, mind flayers, and, most frightening of all, a lich.
To be fair, Asberdies, our lich friend, doesn’t necessarily want to battle the party. He mostly wants to sleep on his ledge and think about his 400 years of research. He is perfectly happy watching the party go by on their way to fight gogglers or the 32 ghouls that are elsewhere in the cave system. But if the party is nosey or detecting magic, they are in for it. Asberdies has ninth-level hijinks kicking around [power word kill, time stop], monster summoning IV, and both a Bigby and an Otto spell. He also has cast 600 magic mouths around the cave to make it really difficult to detect anything but magic, which seems a bit odd considering that he doesn’t want the party to stick around and search the area. Regardless of his motives, this certainly is a time when curiosity does not serve the party well.
But if they beat old Asberdies and find his portable hole, they are in for a treat and a trick. The super cool crown, orb, and scepter that look to be worth upwards of 100,000 g.p.: ha, ha, they are cursed and will turn Samantha Stickyfingers into a wight if she isn’t careful. The treat: a potion of longevity, a magic-user scroll, and a staff of striking, all fun treats for a goodie bag.
Like its predecessors, G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King is no joke. Even if an enterprising party used the ring of three wishes found in G2 to wish all the giants dead, they would still have to do with a bunch of trolls, hell hounds, Obmi the treasonous dwarf, three rakshasas, two ettins, an honest-to-evilness red dragon, and several high-level drow. There is also a tentacle wall and an altar that produces a floating eye that can lead to death or insanity. But going back to the drow: one of them has a -8 armor class. That’s right, minus 8. She also sports a +4 mace and a tentacle wand. Plus she is “strangely attractive.”
Want to know what else is attractive about this adventure. The treasure. King Snurre’s room full of chests, coffers, and trunks. If Horance the Halfling isn’t killed by the invisible asps or gets his hands chopped off by the blade hidden in the lid, then he is going to get his greedy, hairy-knuckled digits on a lot of loot. Sure, it isn’t going to be easy to pack out 17,000 g.p. but that is what bags of holding are for.
G2: The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. Now that is a prime-time title for a module. Glacial rifts: who doesn’t like them? The second-least used giant? Awesome. Using the word ‘Jarl”? For a 11 year-old, literature had never reached such a peak. The adventure also checks in with a top-shelf giant name: Grugnur. That is exactly the name of a Jarl I want to follow as a frost man or a winter wolf.
Worst part of the adventure: running into the remorhaz at the end of the upper area. It isn’t necessarily because of the encounter: if Rimglth and her chums can slay the wormbeast without using fireball, wall of fire, or an elemental, they get to fight over the ring of three wishes and a +2 sword of giant slaying. No, it is scary because of the terrifying picture of the remorhaz:
The hits keep on coming: G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief is also a classic. I know most parties first encountered this merry bit of mayhem as part of the G1-2-3 Against the Giants green cover that has a panel-van-waiting-to-happen picture. But I once or twice saw people, actual people, with the well-sort-of original G1 in all its monochrome glory.
In addition to Chief Nosrna and his chums, which include a cloud giant and 22 other hill giants, there also are four insane manticores, two carrion crawlers, two intelligent swords, and, best of all, a weird abandoned temple. There is a lot to like about this place: “faintly glowing purple green stone” that has disturbing images carved into it; a greasy feeling altar; a place in the back of the cavern that has a 50% chance of making a lookie-loo thief insane but then starts to give out scarabs and 5,000 g.p. gems.
Also: two Perverse Osmosis songs are influenced by this module.