Archive for the ‘Modules’ Category

Death’s Rider Rides

Monday, January 7th, 2019

CM2: Death’s Ride is another of the high-level adventures in the Companion series. It is pegged for characters 15-20, which are fairly astronomical levels on the surface. In AD&D, one of these magic-users could legitimately cast wish or unleash a 18d6 fireball. Every one of these characters should have a keep or a freehold or some place to rest a weary head. That said, I get the need for these types of adventures and I will give CM2 this: it tries to make it hard on characters, especially characters who are only playing in the D&D world.

There is a pretty rad blue dragon named Kordundar, who has a lot of undead working for him. Like 40 of them in one room. Assuming that the characters corner Kordundar enough to kill him, they can also crush the deathstone, grab themselves a 3000 gp opal, get a minor curse, and more importantly, use that opal to command 50 HD of undead. I know that none of the pre-rolled PCs would dare do such a thing, but frankly, I don’t really care what Fergus the Justifier would do.

The final battles to close the sphere of death could also be messy. There are a couple monsters that start with ‘D’: Drolem and druj. There is a beholder and two effreti. There are a bunch of manscorpions [terrible name] and a whole other army of undead, led by the aptly, and not particularly originally, named Ulslime. To be fair, Ulslime is a 20th-level cleric who is trying to bring an entire sphere of death into the prime material plane, so he gets high marks for ambition.

Use a blunt weapon, you fool.

CM1-The Known World?

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

I never played any of the CM series. Once I realized that basic D&D was slanted against evil to the point where they eliminated the alignment from the game, I was out. Plus AD&D had lots more arcane rules and confusing graphs. That said, one of the reasons I am plowing through all the modules that I can easily download or pirate is to see what I may have missed. One module in I can say: not much.

To be fair, CM1 is not designed to be a traditional module; it is more of a campaign setting with a couple of set pieces in it. The dungeon of Kwyll has a bit of a Vale of the Basilisk feel to it: the party gets to fight a red dragon named Smokynose, a handful of trolls, and a beholder. Any and all of these offer good, clean, hack and slash fun. The encounter with the Greek-legend/Krull inspired three sisters is another good battle, although I am not sure what is gained with the big Atlantis reveal.

But mostly this campaign is what I already don’t like about the basic rules: PCs are supposed to be good. Look at the list of pre-rolled characters: Fergus the Justifier [Lawful], Quillian Elm-Grower [Lawful], there is even a Lawful thief, which is all kinds of confusing. PCs also don’t get much volition in which side they should be supporting: maybe I hate Atlantis or really like partying with frost giants. In either case, the campaign’s narrative does not provide the DM with any guidance on what to do if this happens; the assumption is that characters will immediately come to the aid of who they are “supposed to,” instead of who they want to.

But never yuck on someone else’s yum is a rule I live by, and if someone wants to play a lawful fighter carving out a small kingdom in newly discovered country, go for it.

Also, there is barbarian wrestling.

Vampires in Lankhmar

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

CA2: Swords of Deceit would not be a blast from the past that I would enjoy reblasting. It seems hard and boring and a lot of it is again city adventures and talking. That said, like almost every other adventure, even Palace of the Silver Princessthere are some fun parts. (more…)

Lovecraftian Lankhmar

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

C1: Swords of the Undercity was the first module release based in Leiber’s world of Lankhmar. I never read the adventures of Mouser and Fafhrd [people know I am pretty much all Conan, all the time], but I can understand why a more sophisticated, blue-nose crowd might like them. I also never loved city adventures too much either; call me a simpleton, but I will take a hack’n’slash dungeon crawl over skulking around narrow streets any day. All that said, C1 has some stuff going for it: (more…)

C5 is Alive

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Back to the modules:

C5: The Bane of Llywelyn is another one of the later C series that I never played. I probably confused it with one of the Lloyd Alexander books like The Castle of Lyr and his character Princess Eilonwy. I don’t know how all those letters and names got jumbled up and turned into a replacement for a module, but I was also 14.

  • Like all good AD&D quest modules, Bane starts the adventure off with a prophecy that above-mentioned 14 year old me and his boon compatriots would have loved. For that matter, so might have Robert Jordan since the term “wheel of time” is contained in the prophecy.
  • Although this adventure is designed for fourth to seventh level characters [roughly the same as the Slave Lord series], the first encounter might lead to a PC or two being taken straight to Acheron by a group of imps. Nothing like a trip to the Infernal Battlefields to give Brythy Yellowslip a little attitude adjustment.
  • There is very Perverse Osmosis list of kings’ crypts to explore. Names like Fenton the Foolish and Tornum the Terrible could easily, and probably will be, PO songs at some point. Also, there is a vampire in one of the crypts [please remember the adventuring party might be 4th-level].
  • There aren’t many opportunities while stumbling around Oearth to run into a Galeb Duhr, but apparently, I just needed to play the correct adventure. There is one in C5 who takes “great umbrage” with anyone invading its territory. Commence with the bouldering.
  • Hey, you know what this adventure needs, in addition to the vampire and the one way ticket to Acheron? A djinni.
  • But this module isn’t all undead and creatures from the elemental planes. Nope, it also has a merry ole leprechaun that is willing to give the party some prismatic bands. Thanks, and we will not be taking your pot of gold.
  • Also making an appearance in C5: three barbed devils. At least, we can hope it stays at three. They do have a slight chance to gate in a few of their chums who might gate in a few of their chums, etc.
  • Let it be said here: I would not have survived this module.