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:
- There are lot of interesting side characters, henchlings, shady business owners, and grimly politicians to encounter with names like Roggor the Quick and General Worlga.
- We keep the streak alive of having verse set the stage for parts of the adventure. There must have been something in creative air in the middle 1980s, as Earth calculates, because lots and lots of modules in this period include what can generously be called poetry.
- Much like city adventures, I was never much of a wilderness adventure type. I don’t like having to set a bunch of guards or being woken up from a deep sleep to have to take my shift as a guard. In a dungeon, all you need to do is kill whatever was in the room before you and then, bam, that is your room, where you can enjoy sleeping on pile of furs or the squeaky bed that Fr’ll the Frost Giant used to use. It will always be better than sleeping out, especially in a place known as the Sinking Lands.
- C1 is not afraid to bust out an obscure monster or five. Never is my 35 years of adventuring have I ran into a behemoth, but there is one here. Both a scrag and a lacedon make an appearance, and the last time a lacedon showed up was in one of our songs. Also in this adventure and a PO song: the pesudo-dragon.
- The end of this module is 3/4th “Shadow Over Innsmouth” and 1/4 The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. The Shree-ka reverse evolve into fish people and go through many of the same stages as the friendly denizens of Innsmouth. Ones early in process can still go out among the people, but later stages have a difficult time passing for anything other than piscine. Night-guants, who are in Kadath’s monsterscape, are also here, during what night-guants do. Apropos to neither story but connected with the Shree-ka and C1‘s commitment to the full range of monsters: the leviathan.
Please note this NPC is so powerful, he does not have a class or a level.