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.
A4: In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords is a fun, challenging, complex module to play. All of the party’s equipment is taken, the magic-users don’t have spell books, and thieves don’t have tools. And there is the constant danger that the ceiling will fall in because of a volcanic eruption. And the Slave Lords are waiting at the end of the adventure, and as we saw last entry, they are no joke. And there is an enraged snapping turtle, several parties of looters, lacedons, and fire lizards.
On the plus side, there are some groovy and groovin’ myconids that might invite the party to their tripping party. I know that as an adventurer who is hoping to escape the dungeon, I should hope for the ones that producer the rapport spore. But for those of us looking to escape reality, we need some of the sweet, sweet hallucinator.
And just when our merry band of adventurers thought things had gotten easier, a reasonable assumption considering the ogre magi qnd bad-ass blind guy, they run into A3: Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. First up, this is the first time stropers have a chance to entangle a druid or thief in their sticky ickies. But hey, a 5′ tall monster that is immune to normal missiles and can inject paralysis juice is surmountable, even a fun challenge.
But the frigging slave lords who are waiting for the party: they are most certainly not surmountable. They run the gamut from 9th to 11th level, are all on the evil spectrum, and all have some wackiness waiting for our band of merry men and women. The fighter has 18/25 strength and a cutlass +2, there is an 11th-level assassin lurking around to backstab, a 9th-level monk that takes 1/2 damage even when he fails a saving throw, and even the cleric has an AC of zero and a dexterity of 17.
The slave lords were my first-ever encounter with upper-level characters. The group I was playing with certainly weren’t upper-level yet; by Boccob, we were happy to have learned fireball. The slave lords, on the other hand, were starting to experiment with getting their own keeps and monster summoning III.
There is a reason the party is supposed to lose to them.
I spent a lot of time staring at this picture when I was 12.
I don’t mean to tell you how to fight, but perhaps punching the shield is not an effective tactic.